As we move forward into 2021, we may still be stumbling from exhaustion as a historic, horrific season of pandemic and upheaval weighs heavy upon us. In our personal lives, in our congregations, and in our country, we continue to look for the “comfort and joy” that Christmas promises. Meanwhile, we may still be reinventing church as our “pastor-televangelists” sojourn in a foreign “land” of distancing, zoom, streaming, and devices.
And yet, we have found our way. We have discovered or recovered resilience, flexibility, adaptability, and a new way in the wilderness. And we have prevailed in surprising ways! Much effort has gone into reinventing church. We have “prepared the way” and the Good News is still being proclaimed. It may not be the way we had planned in 2020, but we have reached deep and stretched forth. We may be rattled, tattered, and worn, but we are here. The Birth of God’s Coming arrived amidst gifts and feasting, quiet nights, and revealing light and promises to lead us forward.
Turning the page, and moving on into 2021, we carry our burdens and grief, our resolutions and dreams, our commitments and determination. We take the next step. And as promised, God is with us.
As God has blessed us with “The 12 Days of Christmas,” may the star of Epiphany lead us forth in the Light of the Risen Christ that enlightens our lives and our world.
Here are two resources that may be of help for sessions and committees as they plan for 2021.
Questions for Looking Ahead can be a guide as you are organizing for ministry for the coming new year. Dream / Envision / Imagine God’s will for your ministry in 2021.
Questions for Looking Ahead
- How did you see the Spirit moving in the life of this church over the past year?
- What conflicts or hurts or struggles within the church are being carried into the future? How might they be healed or resolved?
- How has this church recently been transformed by serving God and neighbors?
- How has the community been transformed by this congregation’s caring and service?
- What persons and situations in your community need this church’s prayers?
- Where might the Spirit be leading this congregation to bring healing and new life to those surrounding the church?
- What are your prayers for this congregation’s leaders, members, and friends?
Here is an example of a survey that can be adapted for your congregation. You may want to receive feedback from members and friends about the church’s services that they have used.