Saturday, November 18, 2006

Time Management in Mission Mode

This has been a very demanding week for me, more so than usual. Some tension earlier in the week zapped my energy, produced a difficult to treat headache and left me exhausted, unable to do anything other than try to get some rest in the evenings.

During the week I only managed to attend one evening Parish meeting (Pastoral Team) and have not felt able to write until this morning. Fortunately, The Dean is coming to be our Guest Preacher this weekend and I don’t have to write a homily.

All of this lethargy and inertia was physical – it may have had a psychological causative element – but the result left me in a state where I had to make a real effort to get up and face each day. It was only my much-rehearsed morning prayer routine that enabled me to engage with the day. The question to myself then is this; having exhausted yourself on things of no real ‘eternal consequence’, what is left for those things that are?

One of the questions presented to the Pastoral Team on Wednesday night as it looked back over the year was this: ‘Have we tried to do too many events this year?’ This question arose partly because some events had not been as well attended as others, and as something to bear in mind as we were looking at next year’s diary.

Something that struck me as we looked at 2007 was the number of ‘conflicting’ dates with other community groups that we felt we had to walk around for fear of ‘getting them off-side’. Rotary, Lion’s Club, School events, Community Family Fun days, all taking some of the traditional place and presence in the community that the parish church did not so long ago.

Alongside this there is the rise in the 'number' of local community groups. This proliferation of service and sporting groups has seen a reduction in the time some parishioners have to give to their parish activities; some feel that to be involved in the wider community they must be members of these ‘Service’ clubs.

As I have said before, Christ’s instruction to us is clear, we are to ‘go’ and ‘make disciples’. Just being the Christian presence on various committees is not enough – we are called to change lives not committees.

As disciples we need to review our time management as part of our overall stewardship. We must not be so over-committed to the social life of the community that we have no time or energy left to build the Kingdom.

I will let Bishop Michael have the last word. This is a little from yesterday’s entry on his blog.

"...it is not easy being a disciple. It requires us to be prayerfully working away at allowing Christ to take over who we are and what we do, with the emphasis on “working away”. And that is where this idea of discipleship ties into our work of mission and renewal. Being baptised is not enough. Going to church on Sunday is not enough. What is required is for us to grow in our Christ-likeness. And what does that mean for Thomas? It means allowing ourselves to be taken over by the Kingdom within. We face up to our sinfulness, acknowledge our needs and work on changing the things we need to change. We pray, we expose ourselves to the Word of God in the Scriptures and we reach out in love to the poor and needy around us."