What’s Your New Year’s Resolution? | Forum for Theological Exploration

What’s Your New Year’s Resolution?

By: Stephen Lewis
January 06, 2016

Transformative change in our lives does not come easily or as a result of simply making a resolution ... It comes only when we decide to lead differently.

What’s your New Year’s resolution?

This is the question the advent of another year raises for many people as Christians pause to reflect on the previous year and welcome the epiphanies of God regarding the year to come. The beginning of a new year provides us an opportunity to take inventory of what we did and did not accomplish last year, and to set goals for the coming year. It’s chock-full of epiphanies concerning new perspectives, insights and wisdom about where we’ve been, where we are and where we might go. More importantly, a new year invites us to take stock and consider what we want or need to resolve in our lives, communities, organizations, country and world, and how we might lead differently to accomplish those resolutions.

What’s a resolution? While it can be many things, ranging from personal to professional goals, a resolution is ultimately about solving problems or disputes, or finding solutions to challenges. It always involves people making a decision and eventually leading in a way different than what they have in the past.

As we look to a new year, read the headlines and survey our experiences and the experiences of others in communities around the world—all of us could commit to a few new 2016 resolutions.

My prayer for this year is that we resolve to:

  • Be consumed by the disruptive in-breaking of God’s spirit in our routine lives and the ways we are called now to pick up our own cross and work sacrificially on behalf of the greater good of an abundant life for all and peace throughout the world.
  • Be visionary architects of a beloved community where all lives really do matter in this country by working to ensure that Black Lives Matter is not just a slogan or a news headline but a reality for American citizens and the disinherited whose lives have been terrorized or violently destroyed.
  • Be faithful innovators, designers and civil engineers of emerging 21st century models of theological education and faith communities that cultivate a new generation of faithful, wise and courageous leaders, freedom fighters and activists the church, academy and communities need now.

While, these are three big resolutions, there are more you could add to this list. The point is this: now is not the time to think or act small in light of all that is going on in the world, our institutions, communities and lives. We must be resolved in partnering with God to help create thoughtful solutions to the most pressing problems we face on behalf of future generations and inheritors of the earth.

Transformative change in our lives does not come easily or as a result of simply making a resolution. (In fact, most of us struggle to keep or accomplish the ones we make each year.) It comes only when we decide to lead differently. The Christian story is filled with heroes and sheroes, whose names oftentimes are not known or in the spotlight, and who were resolved to lead differently. We are invited to do likewise with the advent of each year. It’s an uncommon call in a world consumed with rugged individualism, the conventional wisdom of the day and playing small enough to be irrelevant. The resolve to lead differently is an invitation to be co-conspirer and labors of God’s justice, hope and love for all people. It is not for the faint of heart but for the courageous faithful.

This year, my prayerful resolution is that we all join God’s work to cultivate, connect and celebrate faithful innovators, theological educators and priests who lead differently on behalf of God’s peace throughout the world. May it be so!

Tags...: Inspired Leaders, Thinking Out Loud

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