In 1986 I was a young energetic 39-year-old pastor serving a young 13-year-old Eden Prairie congregation when visionary Pastor Dale Galloway from Washington State published his seminal book on church leadership titled 2020 Vision. His vision for future church communities was all about cells and celebrations, small group ministries joined with worship for congregating and celebrating with the whole church community. Leadership seminars and conferences had pastors and leaders in congregations and religious institutions focusing on Galloways theories and practices, but also wondering whether he was talking about the clarity of their eyesight for envisioning such ministries or about long-range planning and strategizing for the year 2020 or both. Envisioning ministry priorities 34 years, that was visioning with a really long view 1986 to 2020.
But now the year 2020 has finally arrived and Pastor Galloways play on the double meaning of 2020 sight and the year 2020 is immediately in front of our eyes with 2020 vision in our planning and dreaming, not only for a New Year but also for a new decade.
In faith communities everywhere people are blessed every week and every year by a great variety of inspiring small group cells for building relationships from bowling leagues to Bible studies, book groups to prayer groups, Habitat for Humanity build groups to Loaves and Fishes, too, cooks and servers and clean-up crews, and on-and-on. Likewise, rich blessings are received in gatherings of the faithful in celebration with the community all together for inspiring and uplifting from concerts to sing-a-longs, fellowship dinners to worship services. Seeing others is required for creating relationships and being seen by others is necessary for creating and experiencing community, so in the days ahead in 2020, create and then celebrate relationships discovered and developed in these and other ways.
Pastor Dick Hamlin, my lifetime mentor and encourager, frequently reminds me to finish well and begin new great advice at the turn of the years and the decades. Now is a very special time for review and preview with 20/20 hindsight and 20/20 foresight, all the while confident that God has the long view secure and in sight. Envision with eyes wide open and 2020 vision what that looks like for you and your loved ones every day.
The Popes Christmas message at the transition of these years and decades was, Let the light of God pierce the darkness in our lives and in the world. If we are standing in the darkness well never see the light, so step into the light and get involved in something every day in this brand new year.
Queen Elizabeths Christmas message called for everyone to go into the new year and new decade with forgiveness and reconciliation that will make a difference in our lives and world.
In the end is the beginning, since 2020 vision involves seeing and being seen with an eye for friendship that will build engaging relationships with others, especially when we see God in others and believe we are seen by God also.
God gifts us with eyes of faith for believing so that we might see God at work in our daily living. If ever there was a time for New Year resolutions for opening those eyes, looking and seeing Gods word and action our lives, its now in 2020. Think about it well never get this number again 2021 wont bring to mind metaphors of eyesight and vision like 2020 does now. And neither will 3030, for any of us, should we live that long, or even for our offspring many generations from now.
The Bible speaks of abundant life and abundant love that come from our God of abundance, not scarcity. Pray that eyes of faith will see with clear vision all the big and little things God is up to in our lives and our world in 2020. Then when we say, Have a happy and prosperous New Year, we just might be a little more attentive to crediting God for what we see.
May the God of plenty be yours in 2020.
The Rev. Rod Anderson, former pastor at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, shares this space with the Rev. Timothy A. Johnson as well as spiritual writers Dr. Bernard E. Johnson, Lauren Carlson-Vohs and Beryl Schewe. Spiritually Speaking appears weekly.
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