Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What will 2015 be like for you and your church?

It's always dangerous to predict the future, and no one can really say with any certainty what a coming year will bring.  The one thing we can say with certainty is that it will bring change.  It is highly unlikely that you will be the same person at the end of 2015 that you were when the year began.  It is also likely that your church will be different.

Now, you may argue that your church hasn't changed in 30 years and isn't likely to change in 2015 either, but that's not entirely true.  Especially if you are in a smaller church.  In most cases, those churches have grown older, grayer, and and attendance has probably declined for many of those 30 years.  That's change.  It may not be the kind of change we want, but it is change, and if your church doesn't change some other things the decline will probably continue.

The reason it is so difficult to predict the future is because there is no way to know what will occur that we cannot control.  Illnesses, deaths, accidents, are things that happen without our input or ability to control.  Other people make decisions that can have a major impact on us, and we cannot often impact those decisions.  Banks lend money to people who cannot repay their loans, the market collapses, and the economy goes into a tailspin.  People planning to retire find their retirement accounts gone forcing them to keep working.  They did everything right, but because of the actions of others their lives are forever impacted.  In short, life happens making it impossible to predict exactly what our lives will be like at the end of the coming year.

At the same time, it's important to know that much of what will happen in our lives in 2015 is within our control.  We can set goals for our lives and work to achieve those goals.  We can learn new skills and further our education.  We can choose to deepen our walk with God through the regular practices of spiritual disciplines.  We can make new friends.  We can choose to reduce our debt or get out of debt entirely.  We can choose to take better care of our bodies by eating healthier, getting more sleep, and getting regular exercise.  We can choose to read at least one book a month.  (According to studies this one thing will put you far ahead of the average American and have a significant impact on your life.)

Change is inevitable.  Whether you do anything or not, you will change in the coming year.  The good news is that much of the change you will experience is up to you.  Decide now the kind of person you want to be and what it will take to help you achieve that.  Now is also the time to begin discerning what God wants your church to be and begin working towards that.  Be proactive and you will find that much of the change you will experience will be positive and productive.

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