As part of my job as Pastor, I periodically get to meet with other Pastors in the local (local being a relative term since we usually drive 2 hours to Pocatello) area. There are several things on the agenda, one of them being book discussion. The Region’s Executive Minister carefully selects books for us to read each year, and hopefully each of those books has valuable lessons for those of us ‘in the trenches’. I get more excited about reading some of the books than I do others. To be expected.
One of the things I remember from reading some of these books over the past year or so, is the need to celebrate successes in the life of the church. Seems rather obvious, but then I’m reminded of one of the lessons from when I worked in a hospital 35 years ago: if it’s not documented – it didn’t happen. (Obviously in the context of write down what happened, and what you did, so the next shift and the doctor will know what’s going on with each patient.) People probably know that something is happening, but its up to the leadership team to make sure that they know, and also that they know that it’s important. And somehow, in the church, celebrations of success tend to create a momentum that leads to even more successes.
Successes still happen without the ‘celebration’, but they might be smaller, fewer, and not even recognized as successes. Don’t get me wrong, the Holy Spirit still moves and does wonderful things in our lives even if we don’t recognize it, or others don't recognize it, but it’s hard to build on something when people don't realize that the foundation has been laid.
Likewise we need to celebrate the successes in our personal lives. Alcoholics and addicts celebrate milestones of sobriety, ex-smokers celebrate days without a cigarette, dieters love to announce how many pounds they’ve shed, people in the work force rejoice over bonuses and promotions, students count completed semesters toward the degree. Couples celebrate anniversaries and numbers of grand-children.
Whether it’s being able to read “Green Eggs and Ham” or meeting the deadline and finally sending your own book to the publisher, there’s something to be celebrated. If you’re putting together your first twenty-five piece LEGO kit or building a house, there are successes waiting to be recognized.
It doesn’t have to be a big party, but when we recognize the positive accomplishments in our lives, we have less time to focus on the negative things. Positive or negative, what gets fed –grows. What’s your current success story?