At the August Council of Elders meeting, I began my presentation with Proverbs 27:23, which states: “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.”
For the last few months that’s exactly what we have been doing.
Taking stock of what we do takes time. It’s something we should be doing continually in our personal lives, comparing our actions and behaviors to the standard set for us by Christ. Paul admonishes us in 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (emphasis added throughout).
In order to remain viable and focused on their mission, vision and purpose, organizations, families and God’s Church need to take the time to examine themselves as well. Otherwise they can get off track, leading to dire consequences.
Poignantly, Judah took the time to assess their actions and behavior after their defeat and captivity by the Babylonians: “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the LORD” (Lamentations 3:40).
And who can forget God’s warning given in Haggai 1:5 and 7: “Consider your ways!”
Individually—and as God’s Church—we must examine ourselves regularly. We are to be growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, and we are to be doing His will His way, using all the resources He gives us wisely.
As we at the home office examine our operations and our methods, and as we assess the state of the resources God has provided us spiritually, technologically, financially and personally, we ask for and need your help.
God gave His Church the commission to preach the gospel to “every creature,” to make disciples of all nations, to baptize them, and to teach them to observe all things that Christ commanded. So, we are asking ourselves and seeking God’s input as we consider our ways. Are our congregations being cared for and taught the truth in the manner and with the zeal God expects? Are God’s sheep being fed a spiritually rich and edifying diet? Is the body of Christ growing in the “one-ness” and agape love that we must develop? How can we, as His servants, do better?
As we preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to a world that so desperately needs that message of truth and hope, are we using the tools available to us effectively? Is what we are writing, publishing and presenting beneficial to our members, coworkers and others? Are there better ways, better methods, other “doors” we should be trying? Are there things we have historically done that are no longer effective in this 21st century world? Are we using the financial resources He provides in the way He wants them to be used?
We don’t have all the answers to those questions, but we are looking to Jesus Christ who does have the answers. He knows where He wants His Church headed, and how to get there. So, we seek His way through prayer, studying His Word, in reflection and in asking questions.
As we go through this assessment and examination process, we ask for and would appreciate your help.
Beginning this Sunday, Sept. 4, we are launching an online member survey at this link: surveymonkey.com/r/UCGSurvey2022. The survey is intended for people of all ages who are associated with the United Church of God. We plan to close the survey right before the Feast of Trumpets, on Sunday, Sept. 25.
Please, as part of your service to God and His Church, make the time to take the survey and answer the questions truthfully and completely. Feel free to record your comments in the spaces provided. We welcome your honest, heartfelt input as fellow workers in this building of God’s spiritual temple.
The apostle Paul explains our role in the growth of the Body of Christ: “From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16).
We all have our part to do in that “working” as members of His body. Taking the time to complete the survey is just one of the ways you can help and participate.
Thank you, pastors and elders, for announcing and encouraging your congregations to participate in this important survey, and thank you, members and others, for taking the time to help us assess “the state of our flocks.”
Have a wonderful day of preparation and an inspiring and uplifting Sabbath.