I must admit that I have never been big into New Years Resolutions. Instead of viewing each year with a start and stop date, I found myself seeing it all as one big continuation. A string of years, months, and days that all tied together to form my own little timeline here on this planet. Because of this, the New Year was not a time to start, but a time of assessment and evaluation for moving forward. It is the idea of continual progress and never truly reaching an endpoint in that progression. Sure, there may be goals that are obtained and tasks that are completed, but the finish line is always changing and reshaping. I think that too often, we see our resolutions as finish lines, which can either be accomplished too easily or they are so difficult that frustration takes over and we quit.
This is especially true within the church. We have a habit of naming our finish line based on where we are now and not adjusting that finish line to the progress we make. And the result of that is we finish too early and miss out on so much movement and development that could happen in our lives. We end the race while the best parts of the journey still lie before us. (I eliminated "before" in the previous sentence). Whether you are in your 20’s or 70’s; just had your first child or sent the last one off to college; work overtime or from home – there is more ahead of you and the journey is far from over!
Last Fall, we introduced you to the Big Four of firstChristian: Gather Big, Group Small, Serve Somewhere, and Give Something. Although it is a New Year, these four practices are still essential in forging a faith that goes beyond the everyday and into the extraordinary. But don’t be fooled by their simplicity. Each of these practices are bursting with limitless options and next steps, but never a final step. Below you will find a list of each of the Big Four with a starting point for each of the practices and some initial checkpoints as next steps. Remember, just because you reach the final checkpoint on this list does not mean that you have reached the finish line. There are always further to go in this journey!
Starting Point: Attend a Sunday Service
Checkpoint 1 – Fill out a Connection Card
Checkpoint 2 – Attend Services Weekly
Checkpoint 3 – Sign up for a “Closer Look” Class
Starting Point: Sign up for information about a Small Group
Checkpoint 1 – Join a Small Group
Checkpoint 2 – Attend your Small Group weekly
Checkpoint 3 – Volunteer to provide the snack for the group
Starting Point: Take the Spiritual Gifts Assessment
Checkpoint 1 – Sign up to serve at a special/one-time event
Checkpoint 2 – Talk to one of the ministers about different serving options
Checkpoint 3 – Fill out a volunteer application
Starting Point: Give to Drop in the Bucket
Checkpoint 1 – Make a one-time gift to a specific area
Checkpoint 2 – Set aside time to discuss giving with your family
Checkpoint 3 – Begin giving regularly with the amount you decided on
Stay Salty, My Friends (Mt. 5:13),