Ready or not… here it comes! A New Year with all it holds for us, our family and the unknown. So, how are you doing about a new year rushing towards us? A friend of mine said: “As far as the New Year goes… I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The only challenge is I fear that the light at the end of the tunnel may be a train headed right for me.” Sometimes we just let the New Year happen.
“We just take it as it comes.” Sometimes we just close our eyes, hold our breath and jump into a New Year. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, always found ways to encourage “the people called Methodist” as they entered the New Year. He knew it was important for Methodists to hold a “Watch Night” Service where they would prayerfully ask God into the New Year and to be with them throughout the New Year ahead. He didn’t want to leave it to chance. He knew that God was the God of the past, the present and the future. He knew that God was not restrained by human time. He knew that just as God was with us in the past and today, God could also go into the future to impact it and to help guide us into the best path, and if they encountered a “pinch-point” moment, to know that “God has this” and “God was with them!” He knew that as humans we have short memories and we sometimes forget what we just celebrated at Christmas. Emmanuel! God is with us!
Wesley asked the people who called themselves Methodist a very important question. Each Methodist had to respond in their “class meetings” to the question: “How do you want to spiritually grow this New Year?” What do you want to look like “spiritually” at the end of this New Year? Wesley knew, as Jesus knew, that left to our own we might just not ask that question or vision how we want to be transformed. Years ago, United Methodist pastors were responsible for asking that question of each United Methodist under their ministry. People would take time to prayerfully access where they were and where they would like to be at the end of the year… BEFORE they go into the New Year. The pastor used it to direct his sermon topics and the church used it to offer new creative programs or studies in helping people meet their spiritual growth goals. Rather than people cut adrift and hoping to find their way to growth by the end of the year… it was intentional.
So, what would happen if we followed that same premise? It’s Jesus’ model for His disciples. What do we want for our church by the end of 2020? How are God’s people in our church intentionally preparing themselves for service in the world as we GO BE THE CHURCH! Have you seen the new people in church? Have you seen programs that have connected us with people in our community? Have you seen how we have been making a difference? I think this is the year of the harvest! I think this is the year of jubilee! I think this is the year that God gives us the desires of our hearts and we see our preparation bring about a renewed and growing church! That is what we are going to do, from the first Sunday in the New Year! We are going to ask you what you want to look like spiritually at the end of the New Year. It will be exciting. The messages and worship will be keyed to this. Can we do a weekly devotional that will come to you as a spiritual uplift in your week? What will it look like?
Join us in seeing what our God needs are, and then putting in place “opportunities” so 2020 is a spiritual advance! GO BE THE CHURCH! As we prepare for the God-winks ahead! It all begins in 2020 – God’s year!
Jeremiah 29:11 ~ “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God says: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”