Vision for a New Year
A new year is upon us, and as we come into this season of new beginnings, we look at what is to come. Part of every new year is making resolutions and starting new things in life. Many of us will try to lose weight, spend more time with family, save a little more money, and look at ways to improve our lives. This is not unlike what we will be doing at Bailey.
On January 19th, we will have a day-long planning session that will be open to the entire congregation. This session will be focused on crafting a vision for Bailey UMC in 2019 and beyond. We will be looking at our history together and see where God has been working around us. (If you have any pictures of major events in the life of the church, please share those with me so we can add them to a project we will be doing on January 19th.) We will ask questions about the present and future to explore where God is taking us. The primary purpose for this time together is to work through goals for the new year as well as look at ways that we can be in mission in our community.
You may be asking yourself, "haven't we done this before?" The answer is yes. There have been aspects of this that we have done. However, this day will decidedly be different from other kinds of planning that we have done. This is the start of an ongoing conversation that will take us into some new directions with ministry at Bailey. We have to look at ways to be innovative as we reach new people. What we do today will be different than what was done twenty years ago. What we do now will have to change within two to three years because of the increased pace of change in our world. Innovation in ministry is not something that has to come from "on high." The Spirit works gifts in all of us to take the good news of Jesus to the world. What we do is exactly the same as what we find throughout the New Testament – we share the love of Jesus with the world through preaching and teaching and helping our neighbors. The "what" never changes. The "how" does change.
I invite you to be a part of this innovation and listening to the Spirit. Throughout January and February, we will be examining our spiritual gifts and how those gifts can be deployed in our community. You are encouraged to go to the following website: www.umcdiscipleship.org/new-church-starts/spiritualgifts. On this site, you will find 80 questions to answer that will give you an idea of what your spiritual gifts are. Once you have done this, you are encouraged to give those findings to me or Becky Arroyo so that the information can be put into a database prior to our January 19th meeting.
On January 27th, we will celebrate our Vision Sunday. We will take all the information that was gleaned and mission that was put into place on January 19th and share with the entire congregation. This will be a day of celebration as we look into the future and discover where God is leading us. There will be more information in the weeks ahead about our Vision Sunday.
My hope is that this will be a time of discernment for our congregation. God is moving around us even now. He is doing new things in our church in unexpected ways. God is moving in our community through its leaders. God is doing something new right here. We want to join him and help to bring change and hope to Bailey and beyond. Will you help make that happen? It is going to take all of us, but with God's help, we can do it.