Wednesday, January 3, 2007

HAPPY "Whew" Year!

Working as a pastor is a joy. Working as a pastor at Victory Christian Fellowship (VCF) is both a joy and a "thrill" that I always thank God for. (see blog: Top 10 Things to Thank God for in 2006 – item number 8:

January 2nd was my first day at work in 2007. Spent the morning with the local church staff of VCF Fort Bonifacio discussing our plans and goals for the first quarter. Here was the short list of the events and things that needed to be undertaken by the team:

7 days of prayer and fasting, Appreciation Night (for volunteers), Marriage Preparation Seminars (review and edit of new materials), Volunteer Weekend, preparation for 2 new preaching series (Winning in Life and Apostle’s Creed), Volunteers’ Orientation Meeting, Victory Weekend one for Men and one for Women complete with Baptisms, Spiritual Family Class, Making Disciples Class, Foundations for Marriage Seminars, Every Nation Leadership Institute Classes (1st and 2nd years), small group connection meetings every Saturday, weekly prayer meetings, 1st quarter small group leaders’ rally (Leaders’ Circle), VictoryBiz outreach events, Force Ministries outreach events, plans for a new church plant in Taguig, talents inC Summit at the EN building, Every Nation Youth and Campus outreaches.

January 3rd today was my second day at work. This time the meeting was with the administrative side of the ministry. When a church becomes this size where it has 12 locations, 52 services on weekends and literally thousands of volunteers and over one hundred staff, administrative functions take on a different picture. There’s human resource planning (people assignments), corporate planning (offices, equipment, org stuff), IT, finance, communication (videos, web sites, brochures, flyers etc), operations (building maintenance, lease contracts etc.) that are all necessary to ensure that the ministry side of things run smoothly.

When I got to my table I looked at my travel sked for the quarter, they include a 3 day trip to Singapore to train on VictoryBiz, a 3 day trip to Kuala Lumpur to meet with Every Nation’s Asian International Ministry Team and a trip to London to attend the International Policy Council meeting.

All these plus small group meetings, weekly preaching, School of World Missions teaching, occasional funerals, weddings and counseling and all you can say is : HAPPY “Whew” Year!

“Whew” is an exclamation used to express a feeling of relief, being tired or surprised. In this case surprised and tired. Before you get me wrong, I am not complaining but merely recounting the reality of ministry work. Where people get the idea that ministry is “for people who are not busy and don’t like hard work” beats me.

I also want you to notice that my title says HAPPY “Whew” Year! with emphasis on the happy and not the whew. Whew is important to realistically assess what needs to be done happy is more important to make sure things are done excellently and with great joy.

Let me give some reasons why we need to focus on HAPPY:

1. Focusing on whew focuses on our limited abilities which leads to burn out. Focusing on happy focuses on what God can do in and through us. He gives us the strength.

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

2. Focusing on whew takes the glory away from God to us. Focusing on happy deeply honors God. When we enjoy God He is glorified. The Westminster Catechism declares "Man's chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." It did not say chief ends but end. Which means to glorify God results in enjoying Him and the more we enjoy Him the more He is glorified.

(see: comments on book the Dangerous Duty of Delight.

3. Focusing on whew leaves us unsatisfied. Focusing on happy means we find satisfaction daily in working for and with our God. The kind of satisfaction that renews us like the eagles.

“who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalms 103:5

So here’s to all my partners and friends in ministry: HAPPY Whew Year!

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