As a young preacher, you should enter the ministry for the long haul. You will conduct weddings and funerals, baptize new converts, receive church members and lead in special church projects. An accurate record of these events should be recorded.

Besides revealing the totals of your pastoral activities, the written record will be most beneficial in recording the names, dates and events that the memory will long forget.

You will be called upon to confirm the baptism of someone at a former church. A new church member may ask if you conducted the funeral for a relative years earlier. The exact dates of church dedications, parsonages erected and special projects completed will be yours to furnish.

My wife gave me My Pastoral Record when I entered the ministry. The hardbound, Abingdon Press publication contains 486 pages, ready to be filled with the record of pastorates, baptisms, members received, marriages and funerals conducted, sermons delivered, pastoral calls, special meetings conducted, special funds raised, churches and parsonages built, special addresses delivered, writings published, personal giving, salary received, vacation periods, and notable events attended. A summary of the ministry can be recorded. Photographs can be included.

Over 30 years of very busy ministry have been recorded in this much-appreciated gift. Several inexpensive computer programs can record the same information, revealing at a keystroke the number of funerals, weddings, and baptisms you have performed.

Whether you use a book or a computer program, every young preacher should immediately establish a systematic record of all of the activities in your ministry. Information should be recorded as it occurs.

Take a few minutes after each wedding, funeral, baptism, or special event to record this valuable information.

Don’t procrastinate. You’ll be glad you followed this suggestion as the years quickly roll by.

About the Writer: Dennis Wiggs recently retired after many years in ministry.

Adapted from Contact magazine, January 1997.