removing the "something else's"
It's almost a new year. It's the time when many people sit down and make resolutions about what they will change and what they will add in the new year. Often the decisions are made out of a frustration they have with their current life. So what happens when there is not a lot of frustration with our current situation? Should we take time to reflect, take inventory, and make changes?
Maybe the better question is, why wouldn't we? God asks us to be committed. Completely committed. Doesn't that imply that we constantly evaluate, make tweaks, sometimes even make big shifts to follow where God is leading us? Paul uses words like "pressing on," "taking hold," "running the race." Not only do those imply a forward movement, they imply preparation time. We can't run a race that we haven't trained for, we can't climb or press forward unless we've done some preliminary work. Right?
We've noticed in our own congregation (yep, this is confession time), that the drive to improve and change is many times overridden by something else that keeps things the same. The "something else" is not the same for everyone. Sometimes it's a fear of the new, sometimes it's a love of the familiar, sometimes it's the dread of change, sometimes it's an unclear sense of where to go. That's our job. To help people grab onto what it is God is calling us to do and be so enthused with God's call that "something else" that would normally stall a movement forward gets left behind.
There is no way to lead people into God's call without some time to reflect, feel God's call, and be empowered and impassioned to follow. First, we as leaders need to take some time (following in the footsteps of Abraham, Jacob, David, Samuel, Jesus, Paul...). Once we've heard God, we can then lead our leaders, and then our congregation, into a time of listening and evaluating next steps.
We're leading our leaders through a discernment process in January. We'd love to help you lead yours through something similar. It's an exciting time for the church. We want to hear God's call and be ready. Do you? Let us know how we can help you make 2012 the year to remember.