I'm not a big "New Year's" guy. Frankly, it always just struck me as the day to throw out the old calendar and put up the new one. Big whoop. But among those looking for an excuse for a party, New Year's ranks right up there because it's fairly simple. Just wait until midnight, scream, blow funny horns, kiss someone near you, and sing that Aunt Langenzine song that nobody understands. Sorry. Not my idea of a good time. Still, I watched the ball drop and kissed my wife. Happy New Year.
The other enduring (not endearing) tradition which keeps rearing it's ugly head is the New Years Resolutions. These trite promises are made to be broken, usually right after you've signed up for the gym membership or shelled out a couple of hundred dollars on stop smoking patches.
I don't make resolutions. Long ago I figured out the whole game and decided to decline my turn. Still with a fresh year ahead, I decided to go about this a different way. Instead of resolutions that are bound to fail, I set up a list of goals for the coming year for myself, my ministry and for my church. These are some of the things I/we will be working on during 2007:
First of all comes prayer. I want more depth out of my own prayer life, and more desire out of the church's prayer life. It's way to easy to just go through the motions.
Our church services need to appeal more to "visual" learners. We are technologically challenged, so this may be tough. Still I have a few ideas to involve the eyes in our worship times.
We need to make time for God. We set aside an hour or two a week to watch American Idol. Why is it so hard to set aside a little time for reading the Bible or serious prayer?
Our church needs to escape the small church mentality which holds it back. "We're too small to be able to do something like that" just ain't gonna cut it anymore. It's a lack of faith, at best. At worst, it's laziness.
We need to care more about doing God's will than our own survival. 'Nuff said.
There are probably another half-dozen or so on the list, but you get the idea. Our theme for the year is taken from James 1 and it's simply, "Listen, consider, act." We have to take time to listen to God and we can't do that if we're not willing to pick up a Bible or hit our knees. We have to consider that what God wants from us may not be what we're hoping for, and there may be some big ramifications in that. And finally, we have to stop thinking about things and act.
Here's hoping that we can hit our goals, or at least make reasonable progress on all counts.