Three Things

Three Things

Photo from Dundee Falls in Dundee, Ohio.

I have been doing “Three Things” for a few years. I learned this process from The Rev. Mike Slaughter, a United Methodist Pastor at Ginghamsburg UMC down in the Dayton-area.

The thinking behind the three things is this: aside from my normal duties of preaching, teaching, visiting, marrying and burying, I will set three goals for the year. Doing these keeps me focused on future, on task, and able to see if I have achieved what I set out to do at the year’s end.

Pastor Mike started at a 90 person, 1 room church set in a poor, rural area. His first year, his three things were:

  1. Scrap the bylaws: The bylaws at that time demanded 5 meetings a week for 90 people, worship and then 4 other meetings. This was causing massive burnout in the congregation. This busy work also prevented them from dreaming or listening for God’s voice.
  2. Spend a year preaching on Acts: He would use what the church finds there as a model for how they would be church
  3. Invest in those who take notes: These are the people who will be ready to move and are “all in”

In his first year, he “grew” that church that first year from 90 to 56. And since then they’ve grown to a 4-campus church, that’s the 4th largest in the UMC area. He continues to do his “three things” each year even up to his retirement later this year.

I have developed three things for my first year at United Church of Christ, Congregational, Medina. They are:

  1. Luke’s Listening Tour: Take at least three months before making any major decisions or changes. This will help me soak up your stories, values, and history. I will take a page from Jesus and gather around tables, hear and tell crazy stories, and talk about God to anyone who will invite me.
  2. Start an Education Program: One of the priorities I’ve heard from the search committee, Pastor Josh, and many of you around the table is that we need an adult bible study. After my three month tour, I will set up a program that will launch sometime in the fall.
  3. Social Media: I will make social media a priority, starting with Facebook and this blog. I will gather a team and get on other platforms to get our message out and invite others into the life of the church.

If you are interested in any of these three or have questions, please let me know!


  1. In the Broadway show Godspell…based loosely on the Gospel of Mathew one of the songs that is sung is “Day by Day” which is also loosely adopted from a prayer dedicated to Richard, Bishop of Chichester. The lyrics are:
    Oh Dear Lord

    Three things I pray

    To see thee more clearly

    Love thee more dearly

    Follow thee more nearly

    Day by day

    Day by day

    Day by day

    Sounds like you, and we, are in good company when we speak of and do three things. And the tree things are very similar. You getting to see us more clearly through family meals, us loving and knowing God more dearly through education and all of us following each other and God more nearly through social media.

    Off to a great start and in good company.

  2. Great strategy! (Think I’ll “steal” it. Still a lot of 2017 to conquer. )
    I’d be happy to help with the social media focus. Have a few skills!😊

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