This was my Year End Reflection for 2008. I had intended to do this for 2009 soon after the new year resolutions, but it has been really busy. Well, better late than never.
1. Sermon Series. We did 3 series. Judges was very good. We did succeed in approaching the text from many angles of humanity, like power, burdens and revenge. The feedback was very good and I'm glad we were thorough and insightful about the entire thing. As for 1 John, I didn't think that it was as ground-breaking as Judges. But it was unexpectedly tough given the usual concepts of love, light and life. The shocker was just how radical and polemic John is. In the end, I think it was a really good challenge just to be able to deliver the forceful tone of John. The I AM sayings of John was a pleasant surprise. One would think that such topics would be too familiar. But I took pains to give them a fresh perspective and I think on my part it was highly rewarding. Overall, the sermons of 2009 were highly successful and I think my maturity on this discipline is up to the next level.
2. Ministry. The feedback on the Youth teachings were very good. I covered Exodus, Acts and Ephesians. I approached Acts in a different way this time. Instead of doing a chronological expansion of the kingdom style, I did a evolution of the gospel style (focusing on all the long sermons). As for Ephesians, I don't think I did a great job since it was just my first try on a tough book. But I did covered everything in Tom Wright's Everybody commentary to the youths, and that's at least passable. I also covered Exodus which I really liked. I used Eugene Peterson's Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places as a reflection on Exodus, and I think the honesty really paid off.
I think that the bilingual service band really improved in terms of cohesion this year. I worked a lot on concepts like how to complement one another and I think it is getting more ingrained into them each time. I will give it another year before I hand it over to my successors. I also trained up 2 guitarists and 1 bassists. I believe this is the biggest success I ever had in training up musicians. I had only half a year with them and they are now passable. I believe the fact that they are willing to practice played a big part in their own rapid improvement.
Choir is like 2 steps forward, 2 steps back. I feel that I'm progressing in some areas, but I also feel some unexpected resistance in some areas. I need more wisdom in this matter.
3. Special projects. Youth Camp was a great success. I think the theme (Meaning of life) really came through this time and D gave a very well contained message. I had wished for more interaction with philosophers like Russell, but that would be wishing for the stars.
Candlelight service is also a success by my standards. We had wished to create a complete trilogy and the testimonial theme was successfully implemented. My wife says that it was boring, but well, there are some things beyond my control.
Family Day was ok. I had to oblige to some over-enthusiasm. I hate to do a "I told you so", but I just have to let some things be learned the hard way.
4. Synod. I've tried. I'm tired.
5. Family. We are doing fine. It has been 7 years of marriage and we are going strong. Work is a pain on family commitments and personal mental health. We'll see if this year works out better. Zecky is growing very well in all areas but now also very mischievous. He is just too adorable to discipline, dammit. Becky is maturing very well too. The important developments like character building will really take a lot of time to nurture. I'll have to work in a schedule on that.
6. Personal. I'm happy and progressing just like last year end. I'm growing at least double or triple the pace of others because of work needs, but it is still very far from ideal. Tough.