Good Bye, 2008 – Hello, 2009! Okay, as the clipart implies, I find it harder to stay awake until 12am than in previous years. But, all the same it’s time once again to welcome a new year. This is always a natural time to formulate lists of resolutions and the like. I don’t have any great resolutions this year (I never make it past January anyway), but I have been thinking about a few goals for the new year. Goals isn’t even the best word. More like changes in focus, or re-focusing. These are less tangible and harder to measure than “work out three days a week” or “quit smoking,” but helpful, nonetheless, in preparing my mind for some changes I’d like to make.

Local Church – Again and again over the past year, God has convinced me of the importance of the local church. There’s absolutely nothing like it! Working at a “para-church” ministry, it is important to “come along side” the local church, rather than try to replace it (even if the local church is not particularly healthy). This year I want to work both (1) more within our local congregation and (2) building connections between the ministry of Helping Hands and the ministry of the local churches in Athens.

Discipleship – Discipleship and leadership development are two of my passions in ministry. Yet I often spend more time on other projects – necessary and good projects, mind you – rather than following through with my vision for discipleship. Over January and February, I will unload myself of a few time-passion-life sucking responsibilities and free myself up to focus on discipleship.

Hospitality – Now that Sofia is a bit older (almost one year!) and on a more regular schedule, we want to use our house as a ministry tool. We hope to set aside one evening each week to intentionally minister to refugee friends at the house: food, laughter… life… together. We enjoy unique opportunities to practice this sort of hospitality, both because of WHERE we live and the fact that we’re married.

This list is not a finished work. But these are a few thoughts that Kristin and I have shared over the past few months. What about you? Any resolutions, goals, or re-focusing for the New Year?

2 thoughts on “Re-Focusing for 2009

  1. Hi Brett and Kristen. We enjoyed reading this post – I think the goals that you’ve written about are so important, especially in refugee ministry (speaking of hospitality, have you read Making Room by Christine Pohl? Probably the best book I’ve read about the theology of hospitality). We resonate with the effect of “time-passion-life sucking responsibilities”… at the moment, some of those activities are necessary as we attempt to build relationships with churches and organisations in North Glasgow. We’re really pleased to see that you’re getting into life at 2nd Evangelical. The church and the community we found there is one of the things we really miss about Greece. There is such potential there…

    As for New Year’s goals; we probably should give it more thought. One thing we have started to do is to nurture a spirituality of food… a Mennonite cookbook called More-with-Less has really got us thinking about the issues of cost, sustainability, community, and hospitality in the way we eat. Oh, a personal goal for me (Paul) is to buckle down and learn my Arabic. I’m starting lessons with a brilliant Iraqi teacher.

    Miss you guys, and hope you’re having a good break in the States.

    P & E

  2. B-a-l-a-n-c-e. I need it in every area of my life, as I currently do not have it at all. Here’s hoping and praying I can make it happen, with God’s grace!

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