Today’s the day. The one-year anniversary of my first Sunday as Legacy’s full-time preacher. Some have told me this means the honeymoon’s officially over. So I took a few moments this past Sunday to renew my vows to our church family: that I understand it is a tremendous honor and privilege to be their preacher; that I am eternally grateful for their faith and trust in me; that I hold that faith and trust sacred; that I’m going to live my life in a way that honors them and our God; and that, while there will be times I disappoint them, it will never, ever be from a lack of trying as hard as I can and doing everything I can to serve them and faithfully preach the Word of God.
A couple of months ago at our elders / ministers retreat in Glen Rose, we were each given a five-sheet self evaluation form. It was a wonderful tool designed to help each of us better see the areas of our ministry and our calling in which we’re excelling and the areas that need some attention.
I’ll share with you today my number one strength (according to me) and a couple of my biggest weaknesses (among many) in an effort to open up and to better hold myself accountable.
My number one weakness, I think, is in my time management. I stink. I found myself checking boxes on the evaluation form that read “the way this person (me) seems to manage time has a negative effect on his ministry” and “this person MOSTLY fulfills his responsibilities.”
It still takes me too long to write a sermon. It still takes me too long to write bulletin articles and emails and proposals and blog posts. I still find myself being bogged down in long administration conversations and in making administration decisions. I don’t think I’m neglecting the spiritual side of my job as Legacy’s preacher. I’m good, in fact I thrive, on meeting with people who need spiritual direction, on praying with people who’ve lost hope, on studying with people who are looking for God. I’m not neglecting those things. I’m also maintaining my own spiritual life much better in the past six months than I was able to in my first six months. That’s not a problem anymore. It’s just that I’m ALSO doing way too many other things.
I’m learning how to say “no.” I said “no” twice yesterday.
The other thing I absolutely have to work on is my tendency to not delegate anything, to try to do it all myself. I checked a box that said “typically leaves other staff out of his plans.” I always think my motives are good. I don’t want to ask somebody else to do what I can do. Or should do.
Or is it because, selfishly, I don’t want to give up any authority or power? Arrogantly, I think I can do the job better than anybody I could possibly ask? That, honestly, may be part of it, too.
I think I’m getting better at that. The ladies in the office, I think, would say I’m asking for more help in the past couple of months. But I could do much, much better.
I also have a real problem with allowing the few negative things that are done or said about me or to me outweigh the countless positives. But isn’t that just human nature? I’m not counting that as a negative. Everybody does that.
Of the 16 categories on the evaluation form, the only one I graded myself at the highest level was in Vision & Mission Clarity. Others may see this differently. I may be totally delusional on this. But I checked the top box that read “This person (me) sees vision clearly and is totally focused on the Legacy mission.”
The character of Christ formed in us. Us being transformed into the image of Jesus. All the things I wrote about yesterday that constitute true church growth. Brothers and sisters living lives of sacrifice and service. Applying the Word. Connecting as a Family. Evangelizing our Community. My aim in preaching and teaching goes right to the very core of those things. I believe my emphasis on Small Groups Church facilitates and accomplishes those things. I see growth here. And I see tremendous potential.
Today at our monthly meeting of the Waco Alliance we’re scheduled to discuss, among other topics, the things about me that make me hard to work with. I hope the nine other guys bring as much to talk about as I am.
The high school right across the street from Legacy, Birdville High, is State-Bound for the first time in school history, in any sport, ever. The Hawks baseball team is heading down to Austin for the Final Four as Class 4-A Region I Champs! They’ll take on Waxahachie’s Indians tomorrow night and then, should they win, play for the first-ever Birdville State Championship on Thursday.
Most of our youth group at Legacy attends Birdville. And most of our church family’s been following the team. We’ve updated our electronic billboard out on Mid-Cities Boulevard this week with a couple of congratulatory messages and good luck wishes.