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Gracious Father,

In the 23rd Psalm we hear “the Lord is my shepherd”. We ask as we embark on this new school year for you to shepherd us in our learning and our lives.

For those of us who fear, help us to remember that even in the darkest valley’s you are with us. Please guide us and protect us.

For students, please give them peace, patience, and an open mind to learning.

For teachers, administration, and support staff, please give them guidance.

In Jesus Name, AMEN.

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I just finished reading the Radical Wesley by Howard Snyder. This book is an overview of John Wesley’s ministry and methods. Snyder also offers how we can apply some of Wesley to church today.

My key takeaway was this: According to Snyder, Wesley’s secret sauce in ministry was discipline and accountability for his followers. It seems Wesley focused on holding the early Methodists accountable through threat of expulsion from the small group. He was able to balance the grace of Jesus with the high standards of his small groups without becoming legalistic.

I think this quote by Snyder summarizes the book:

Commitment to Christ, no matter how sincere, has a way of evaporating with time if not tied to and reinforced by specific commitments and disciplines which undergird the corporate experience of the Christian community. (p.161)

I do not think this high accountability is around in large supply today…maybe it should be.

It’s almost the end of the year. Churches are making their budgets for next year. People are stretching their bank accounts for Christmas. Some people are even making goals for next year. I try to make a few personal and professional goals each year. I usually lose them by February. Most of the time my goals end up being focused on things I can not really control.

As pastors we always want to grow our church and further God’s kingdom. The truth is we have very little control over the numerical growth of our churches. However, we can control a few numbers. Here is a list of number I want to focus on in the next year:

  1. The number of people I have to eat inside my house.
  2. The number of 1st time visitors I follow up with at church.
  3. The number of thank you notes I write each week.

What will you be focusing on? Please share!