Praying Our Stats

March 18th, 2011

Last month my senior pastor, Alex Joyner, whose title reflects his position in the church, not his age, wrote about a litany I had crafted for our Council on Ministries worship service. (See "Statistics in Worship?")  Alex considered the litany I wrote a unique way to approach disseminating information and including otherwise mundane statistics in worship.  He ended the post with some tongue-in-cheek possibilities for future worship events, such as “an act of repentance for building needs,”   “a prayer of confession for my accountable reimbursement plan,” and “nursery staffing as an altar call.”  When I asked him to consider what some serious possibilities could be, he replied, in typical senior pastor fashion, “that’s for you to do.” 

As a seminary student, currently on the track toward elder’s orders in the United Methodist Church, I have often heard my colleagues talk about looking forward to ministry, “except for the administrative stuff.”  The question that comes to me is “What does it mean to be called to Service, Word, Sacrament and…wait for it…Order?”  How do these connect?

All of the administrative activities in the church focus on providing faithful stewardship of the gifts God has given.  By faithfully attending to the proper ordering of the church we are, in fact, attending to the other facets of the ministry. 

So, worship can be a celebration of all that is occurring in the life of the church, even the mundane things like finalizing the budget.  Why not lift that up to God in grateful prayer during a service?  Why not celebrate the actions of the lay leadership committee when they’ve filled all the “slots” in the Council on Ministries?  All that we are and all that we have come from God and the glory for our successes reside solely in God.  By praying our stats, we put the emphasis right where it needs to be anyway.

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