There has been a lot of talk about assessment lately. The schools are being asked to assess the progress of their students and the effectiveness of their teachers. A day doesn’t pass without a news report of an assessment of some kind. The condition of the freeway bridges, the progress of light rail, and the aging state ferry fleet are a few recent examples. Doctors order tests and our health is quantified in numbers. It seems that to exist is to be measured. Yet we are more than our measurements – or are we? This culture of assessment is fueled, I believe, by our desire to understand ourselves and the world in which we live.
Even the words of Jesus assume that we will be seeking and searching to learn more, to know more, and to experience more of God. In Matthew 7:7-8, Jesus says:
7 “Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
Over the first eight days in June I will be participating in CREDO, a mid-career conference for pastors sponsored by our PCUSA Board of Pensions. It is billed as an opportunity for “assessing one’s gifts and personal areas of growth, and prayerfully considering the future of one’s ministry.” Oh, no, another assessment! But the feedback I have from those who have participated in past CREDO conferences is that CREDO is an amazing experience. Yes, we will be assessed, but we will also build relationships, be renewed, and experience a week away from the stresses and concerns of daily life. Did I tell you that the conference site has no cell or internet service? That fact both excites and terrifies me.
In preparation for CREDO, the participants are asked to do some reading and reflection, as well as take various assessments concerning our financial, spiritual, physical, vocational, and emotional well-being. As I have worked on the preparation materials, it occurred to me that this type of mid-career check-up is a real gift. I don’t know if I would have chosen to do so if I had not heard such wonderful things about CREDO.
So, today, I’d like to offer a few questions for you to reflect upon, taken from my reflections on the CREDO materials.
- What is your definition of health?
- What is your favorite way to pray? What do you see as the benefit of prayer?
- Who is a key support person for you?
- What gives you the most joy? And how often to you do this?
- How are you using your financial resources to bless others?
As I participate in CREDO I would appreciate your prayers. I look forward to sharing pieces of what I have learned with you over the next few months.
With prayers in Christ,