A week or two ago I was privileged to share some time with the Indiana United Methodist Church’s RIM group. RIM is short for Residence in Ministry. Once a man or woman is “commissioned” into ministry at annual conference, they then spend 3 years in “residency,” much as a doctor who wants to grow and improve might spend a residency prior to becoming a specialist. They are a pastor, doing pastoral work, but they need to grow and gain in competency prior to becoming fully “ordained” as an elder.
It is important we have such times as these. However, what I can tell you is that, after several decades of being ordained, I have never arrived at a place where I don’t have to grow and mature. Though I have had some accomplishments, God keeps showing me lots of places where I can grow into the image of Christ—perhaps more now than when I was younger—which keeps me humble, indeed.
That is why I can never quit the stewardship of my life. My time, my abilities, my resources, and my money are always in need of maturing. As an example, now that I have more skills and abilities in the area of church finance and giving, I need to find more ways to share that with churches and younger clergy (who don’t learn such things in seminary). Or in another instance, my personal assets are much larger now than when I was young, and that means I have to take seriously what will happen to them when I pass away, and need to think more deeply about the people and causes I believe in and support.
Stewardship never ends. Nor should it. Any place we “arrive” is meant to be a short-term residency, preparing us for the next thing God has in mind for our lives. My prayer for you is that you, and your church family, are always stewarding stronger now than ever before—and if not, make it so.
If you want more ideas for stewardship and giving, whether pastor or lay person, contact us at your United Methodist Foundation here or call us toll free at 877-391-8811.
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Director of Development
United Methodist Foundation of Indiana