Monday, January 11, 2016

New Year's Resolutions from your Rector

Addendum to homily for the Baptism of the Lord (1/10/2016)

I promised Saint David's five resolutions for the New Year that I would make regarding my work as Rector of the Church. In setting goals like these, I follow the SMART system so that the resolutions are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. I ended up coming up with six, two each in three important areas of my ministry: Personal Spiritual Discipline, Evangelism, and Building Church Ministry.

Here are my six resolutions.

A “discipline” is not punishment or uncomfortable rigor; but, rather, it is simply being intentional about doing something that will make one better. At its heart, discipline is about practicing. Spiritual discipline is, therefore, about practicing to be a better disciple of Jesus and might include anything that helps to intentionally focus one’s awareness on God and the godly life. 

1.  I will to deepen my discipline of spiritual reading.
Spiritual reading is a discipline of prayerfully reading and studying literature that enlivens the spirit and draws the person into a deeper connection with God, the Church, and the World. Examples of spiritual reading might include: the lives and writing of the saint; commentaries on Sacred Scripture, theology, and history; works on prayer and other spiritual practices; and, pastoral letters and exhortations from bishops and other religious leaders. Spiritual reading is done not only as an exercise of information and learning but also, and perhaps more so, as an effort towards formation and living. 

I will attend to spiritual reading at least 7 hours every week (averaging 1 hour daily).

2. I will spend more time with my God in prayer and meditation.
Prayer is actively seeking time in the presence of God. While I am usually busy with the work of God, I often find myself so busy doing things for God that I don’t actually have time to connect with God.

I will attend to this discipline by intentionally scheduling at least 45 minutes daily for personal prayer and meditation. Additionally, I will engage in some form of public or communal prayer at least three times per week (not including Sunday morning worship).


3. I will meet new people outside of the Church.
Sometimes I fall into the trap of only meeting people through or at church. I spend too little time actively in the community encountering new people and engaging with community and church leaders who I don’t already know. This, naturally, limits how successful I might be in evangelism and community building. The practice of meeting new people can broaden the scope of ministry and engage me more fully in the work of evangelism.

I will spend at least 2 hours each week engaged in the practice of meeting new people by walking the Saint David’s neighborhood, engaging local business owners, going to coffee houses, and just getting out more.

4. I will increase my online and social media presence.
The fastest growing evangelistic tools are digital and online. Saint David’s Facebook page currently has 240 “likes,” almost double our average Sunday attendance, with some of our posts reaching thousands of people. A recent study by the Episcopal Church demonstrated a direct correlation between church growth and the number of online, social media, or digital tools a church uses. In short, social media can and does work for ministry.

I will increase my activity on “Grace is everywhere,” my blog (found at to an average of two posts weekly. I will also pledge to learn and use effectively one other social media tool (probably Twitter).


5. I will challenge you to specific tasks of ministry.
I have a goal of 100 % participation and I think that goal is attainable. From your part, when I or another ministry leader ask for your cooperation or assistance, leadership or effort, don’t say no – say “I will, with God’s help.” For my part and on behalf of ministry leaders, I promise that the request or challenge will be specific, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

I, or another ministry leader, will challenge each of you – each member of this parish church to a new and specific ministry this year.

6. I will bless you in your ministry.
If you are to be challenged to new ministry, it would be unfair if you weren’t blessed on your way. I promise, therefore, to equip you on your way. Part of that equipping is calling upon he Holy Spirit to alight like a dove upon us – to overshadow us that we might bear Christ. It is important to dedicate our ministries to God and name them as holy: this is the act of consecration and blessing.

I will consecrate and bless all of the ministries of this church. Among other times, such blessings will occur at least one monthly during an act of public worship.

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