So I’ve been blogging regularly for about a month. While I sought to post everyday, that has not yet happened. This is about the time when I begin wondering if my little blog really matters that much. I began this blog as a space to share some of my reflections and “left over thoughts” that don’t fit other places. The thoughts that I put on here are ones that I think are worth sharing, and ones that I hope can have some sort of impact beyond just me. While I’m aware that my thoughts and reflections are not completely unique, special, or extraordinarily profound, I would like to think that we can all learn from each other, even in our ordinary and mundane lives. My belief is that there are fingerprints and footprints of God in everything around us, and that God’s work of restoration and reconciliation has already begun but has not yet fully arrived, and so much of the writing here consists of my reflections on my mundane life that helps me to view life through a theological lens and hopefully helps others as they (you) seek to look for signs of God’s work of restoration and reconciliation beginning.
Blogging is a fascinating medium because one often does not know the impact that one’s writing may have on the outside world. There are stats, and there are abilities to share posts, to like posts, and to comment on posts. But it is still very difficult to estimate the amount of impact. The more I think about it, blogging is a lot like ministry.
Those of us involved in ministry want to have an impact. We also struggle with how to measure “progress” and how to measure our efficacy. We do have worship attendance which tells some of the story, but not the whole story. There is also the ability for others to chat about your sermon, for others to join in the conversation (we use a dialogical approach to preaching). Some do share whether what I say has an impact, but many do not.
Many days, particularly Sundays, I am left wondering if I have any impact at all. This in turn leads me to the “does any of this matter?” line of thought, which leads to the “what am I doing here anyway?” dungeon, from which there seems to be no easy escape once you get in there. That is the potentially dangerous thing about ministry, but also one of the fascinating thing about ministry.
Ministry does not lend itself very easily to charts, graphs, and empirical measures of efficacy. Attendance and participation numbers are part of it, but they are not the whole story. Giving numbers are part of it, but they are not the whole story. Increasing biblical and theological literacy are part of it, but not the whole story. So many times, I am left hoping and praying that God will be able to impact my folks either because of, or despite, my efforts. After all, it is ultimately not me that makes anything effective, it is God.
I think that this, too, is a lesson in faith. The ability to trust that God will take our best efforts and our best intentions and make something good out of them. After all, isn’t this what we are all doing? Putting forth our best, and hoping that it is beneficial to others in some way, even in ways we may not even realize or understand.