(This is the first of a two-part series – the next part is tomorrow)
Last week I was working on a project. As I went through it, I was starting using a combination of my files folders, a notebook, my phone, and the internet. At one point, I stopped and laughed about how things have changed in the last 25 years. I then spent a few minutes, reflecting on that idea and came up with a list of changes I have seen since I entered the ministry. Possibly you will understand a few of these.
- File Folders for Computer Files. At one time, I had five large filing cabinets. Now I am down to two and planning to scan all useable documents and eliminate those two. I used to copy articles and have a “hard copy” of everything. Now I just have a computer and four back-up drives to ensure nothing is lost.
- The Church’s Internet Image Verses Brochures. I cannot remember the last time I saw a church brochure, let alone made one. I help maintain a Church website and Facebook page. These are usually the way people learn about our Church.
- A Monthly Newsletter Article Went to a Daily Blog. The motto years ago was “publish or perish.” Churches created monthly and sometimes weekly newsletters to communicate the Churches information. Inside of those publications, the preacher would write a short article for the people of the congregation to read. Now I write an article like this daily.
- Buying Books to Digital Resources. My professors instructed me to buy books. Buy books as resources for sermons, lessons, and learning material. I followed their words and bought dozens of books that now sit unused on my shelf. My research software has more than a bookshelf worth of content, and that does not include all the free resources online that I use.
- Ministry of One to a Ministry of Everyone. It used to be that the lead pastor of a congregation did everything. He went to the hospital, prayed, preached, taught, and led everything. This led to smaller congregations where more people watched than participated. Now, there has been a shift as we see everyone is gifted by God to serve side by side. Sure, the preacher might still do numerous things as he is paid for 40 hours of work, but I now have more people serving with me than ever before.
These are the most significant changes I have seen during my ministry. Do you remember any of these? What would you add to my list?
I still serve the one and only God, but the format has changed, and I thank God for these changes.