Looking Back to Forge Ahead

Brothers and sisters,

Here we are at the beginning of another new year! 2023 is done and 2024 lies before us. New Year’s resolutions are being made right now, with the most common ones being things like going to the gym, saving money, spending less time on social media, etc. Resolutions are always interesting things because they are, on their surface, meant to be projections for what a person wants to do in the new year. We think of them as being “future” things. But I’d argue that resolutions only make sense in the context of a person’s past. You have to understand where you’ve been in order to project where you want to be.

With that in mind, let’s look back at what we’ve done together as a church this year. We started out the year preparing for our church yard sale. We had the ACC Tournament Food Drive (which UNC won, I might add). We made our way through the cycle of Lent and Easter once again. We reached out to the children and families in our community with our Super Saturday Adventures, reminding them all of the love God has for them. We worshiped alongside passages of scripture that rarely, if ever, get preached on. We held a fall festival. We brought back Lemonade on the Lawn and changed it into our Sunday Social. We made shoeboxes for children in Appalachia. We provided school supplies to local students. We made it through another cycle of Advent and Christmas. Through all of that, we celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, trips and promotions, engaged couples and expectant families. Through it all, we came together to mourn losses, to struggle alongside each other, and create space for each other.

The key to everything our church did last year was a single-minded focus on remaining faithful to God. At both our best and our worst, I would argue that we sought God’s will for us as individuals and us as a church family. And so, I would propose that our New Year’s resolution as a church would be something along the lines of , “Seek new ways God may be pushing us to be faithful.” I understand that sounds vague, but I think it needs to be. When we genuinely seek God’s will, there’s no telling where it will take us—so why limit it? Let’s embrace all the possibilities of 2024 and believe that God will guide us and help us to remain faithful to our community, to each other, and to our Lord.

Happy New Year,
Pastor Ben