Happy New Year 2015

Happy New Year! It’s getting close to the deadline, in terms of making resolutions, that is.

I haven’t been a fanatic about making a long list of resolutions that might not last beyond Valentine’s Day. But, I do think this is a great time to reflect and consider leaving some things in 2014 rather than taking them into a fresh new year. There are some attitudes, beliefs, and burdens that plague a lot of us, and today is a good time to decide that 2015 will be different. I genuinely want to “lay aside the weight and the sin that so easily entangles” and see what difference that can make. I hope others do too.

I’m a pastor by calling and choice, but more of the former than the latter though. I still believe in a divine ambition to serve the Lord through the local church, and appreciate especially so many others who toil in any number of difficult ministry fields. I join with many of my brothers and sisters in Christ who hope that this next year will be more productive than the one we’re leaving behind.

One thing about 2014: it’s been brutal. Hailey Owens.The suicide of Robin Williams, Malaysian planes crashing which killed more than 500 people (another one near Indonesia this week), and of course the racial unrest in Ferguson. Police officers executed in their vehicle and a general feeling of unrest and sadness. It’s been rough in this regard. On the bright, less serious side, the Royals made the World Series. And those low gas prices have been great. I would trade higher gas price for peace and goodwill, but unfortunately it’s not a matter of choosing one or the other.

I came across an enlightening article by Jonathan Davis; it is written by a millennial about millennials which come close to my thoughts about ministry and how I hope to approach a brand new year. In short, Davis is telling church leaders: “don’t try so hard.”  What he does do is ask churches to focus on these three themes: community, authenticity, and service. Davis addresses small churches in particular, but I think his premise is accurate for all churches regardless of size.

What I want to do this upcoming year is to reaffirm the importance of these aspects of ministry and find ways to implement them into our church. I don’t know what that’s going to mean in terms of attendance, giving, and other marks of church growth. But, I have come to believe that it has a lot to do with the Kingdom of God and that’s where I want to be in 2015.

Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you” (Matthew 6.33). I memorized this verse decades ago. I hope and pray the the Holy Spirit breathes new meaning into this passage so that might take root in my life and in the lives of others around me.

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