January is often a time to resolve to do things differently, to do better; it’s a clean slate, a fresh start, a time to reinvent oneself (just ask the gyms and the weight loss industry).
This month, you and I will vow to exercise more, eat less, abstain from our vices and become the people we hope and want to be. Yet by early February, our good intentions will have been tested and, too often, found lacking (just ask the gyms and the weight loss industry).
But those failures–both major and minor–rarely stop us from striving to be better year after year. This is a good thing. When we fail to grow as humans and Christians, we fail to realize our full potential.
Most of us feel that we can’t afford to overhaul our whole life to meet our goals. We have jobs, we have kids, and we have friends who would think we have lost our minds. But you know what? If the goals you and I set are not worth overhauling our lives for, then we must ask our-selves why not?
While processing my own personal goals for 2012, I began to wonder: Can the church have New Year’s resolutions? Has the church failed to grow and realize its full potential? What might need overhauled in the life of the church in 2012?
Perhaps these goals would not be as simple to tack to one’s refrigerator as our personal resolutions, but we as members of the Body of Christ could certainly aim for some goals in the coming year that would help us realize our potential as the church. Here are some suggestions for 2012.
In 2012, I hope to see Silverton Friends Church vow to…
- faithfully proclaim the gospel through word and deed. Words alone are not sufficient; how the gospel is embodied in our community, worship, and the example of our lives is as important as what we say.
- seek to put the good of our neighbors over our own, and have a heart for being involved in the local community – especially with the poor, oppressed and marginalized.
- practice hospitality by welcoming the stranger into the midst of our gatherings without pre-tense, urge to gossip, or critique.
- see ourselves as representatives of Jesus and do nothing to blatantly dishonor His name.
- be desperately dependent on prayer and reclaim it as a part of our daily life.
- provide meaningful opportunities for spiritual formation instead of cluttering people’s lives with sheer programmatic busyness.
- feed deeply on the Scriptures throughout the week – not being content with knowing the Bible at a surface level, but desiring to have a deep understanding of the whole of Scripture.
- help people discover and develop their spiritual gifts and rely on gifted people for ministry instead of merely talented people.
- become a healing community where people carry each other’s burdens and help restore them gently.
I believe if we, as the church, take seriously these resolutions, we will begin seeing a fuller representation of our potential as the Body of Christ. And just maybe, our own personal lives will be transformed amidst our failures and unreached goals.
May God bestow His grace upon us in 2012.
Pastor Bob Henry