Cleaning Things Up in Preparation for Jurisdictional Conference

Much of this week I have spent on administrative details (with the exception of teaching a PLD group). Many things go under the rough heading of “cleaning things up in preparation for Jurisdictional Conference.” My wife asked me what I did at dinner. I replied, “worked!” Nothing really stood out as exotic, innovative, or fascinating. And yet, the various pieces of administrative details have an importance in their own right. My predecessor at University UMC in San Antonio, Dr. Steve Wende (now Sr. Pastor at First UMC, Houston), likes to say, “nobody joins a church because it is well run. But people will leave a church if it isn’t well run.” How true! I like to say, administrative attention to detail separates the women from the girls and the men from the boys. I have a conviction that every job has components of taking out the garbage. By that I don’t mean that things or people are garbage. Rather, I mean that there are parts of living together that are necessary to get done (and done well) that aren’t fun or even pleasing to do. They just need to be done. In my marriage, one is taking the garbage. For the last 35 years and 11 months that has been (and remains) one of my tasks. I don't get warm feelings from doing it, but if the marriage is going to work, somebody has to do it. In the midst of the ordinary, even pedestrian, elements of being a bishop (or pastor or lay leader) I need to be reminded that the Apostle Paul rated “the ability to help others” and “leadership skills” as spiritual gifts. (see I Corinthians 12:28) Scholars of spiritual giftedness believe that administration is a central part of this “gift-mix.” So, I turn my attention back to administration of tasks – writing a myriad of letters, working on the agenda for our fall Cabinet retreat, going over plans for the Path 1 (the General Church Focus Area on “New Places for New People” – new church development), grinding through the paper work on a complaint, cleaning out far too many emails, doing a second re-write on an evaluation document to use on myself, the Cabinet and appointed pastors – the list continues, you get the drift. This too can be a work of God.