Looking Forward to the New Year
I love this time of year. Christmas is over, and the New Year is on the horizon. There is a blank slate in front of me and I get to decide how I will launch into the year ahead. With notes of ideas that I collected over the past year, I look for a common thread to link these ideas together. Handwritten notes, counsel questionnaires, and remembered conversations from folks in the church help solidify the goals for the New Year.
The work is always hard, sometimes confusing, but consistently profitable. Without the planning week before the calendar rolls over, I am in trouble. There is nothing worse than trying to find my bearings after I start the journey. The plan does not need to be perfect, it can always be adjusted, but it does need to exist.
As I look to 2020, discipleship, leadership development, and focused worship gatherings top my chart. There are lots of ways to work at each of these things, and each of us plays a role. Jesus’ Great Commission still remains the same,
I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18–20, NLT).
Indeed, Christ is still calling us to fulfill His great instructions for us. Making and teaching disciples is at the heart of Christ’s command, yet we do not do it alone. In fact, it is in His authority and with His constant presence that we can do what He asks of us.
Part of my planning for 2020 includes some focused sermon series starting with a study from the Book of Esther. This study coincides with the Bible Quizzing Teams' material. We will use the English Standard Version (ESV) for that study since the Quizzing Team will be using that version. Following our survey in Esther, we will turn to the Book of Hebrews. There are so many deep connections with the Old Testament Law in Hebrews. I think you will find the series insightful, challenging, and instructive for living the Christian life.
I hope to do a book study with a few potential leaders in the congregation in 2020 as well. I am still working out the details on that at this point.
Over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed working with a team of song leaders and creative minds in the congregation as we plan our worship gatherings. I named this group the Creative Team. As we discuss our Sunday morning gatherings, ideas come out that challenge the different learning styles. Last year we incorporated art and music in our services that help draw all of us closer to Christ. I want to see us pull everything together even more in 2020. The goal is to give us a single voice and emphasis as we worship God together.
One last thing, next year is a year of generosity. As we accomplish our giving challenges over the next five years, we will need to stay committed to being generous. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:7–8 (NLT),
You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.
It is our pleasure to advance the Kingdom of God through our giving commitments. In 2020, I look forward to seeing the ways God blesses us because of our faithful response to His leading.
As you celebrate the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, may you fix your eyes firmly on Jesus. Follow Him wherever He leads and be amazed by what He will do in your life and in the life of our congregation.
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Eric grew up in the little town of Gibraltar, PA with his grandparents. He met his wife Cheryl while working at Good’s Greenhouse in Bowmansville, PA. He has three adult children and values watching them grow into the people God wants them to be.