This morning in worship we participated in the Wesleyan Covenant Service. It is a prayer service that calls us to a renewed faith in Christ and to be dedicated to living in the fullness of what our faith means. It’s an appropriate service for the first Sunday of the new calendar year, and especially so on this Epiphany Sunday when we celebrate the light of Christ that came into the world.
In leading the service, I made the decision to adapt it to make it a goal-setting service. Essentially, we used the covenant to make some “promises” of what we will do to live out our faith in Christ in 2013. The promises, or goals, range from the personal to the communal.
We committed ourselves to spiritual growth. We promised God and each other that we would take more time to pray, to read Scriptures, to reflect on what God desires, and to seek the Lord in all things. With this we said we were going to take a snapshot of where we were in our relationship with Christ and said that by the end of the year we desire to have a deeper and more meaningful relationship with the Lord.
Second, we made the commitment to use the gifts God has given us in ministry with the church and our communities. Each of us have been gifted with talents and skills that can be used to serve God and share the love of Christ with others. We said that we were going to take opportunities to use these gifts in the local church and in ministry opportunities throughout our neighborhoods.
Third, we said we wanted to grow in attendance and membership. As an expression of our faith, we set the goal of receiving 1 to 2 family units by profession of faith. This is a challenging goal that will require all of us working together to invite and welcome new people to our churches.
Finally, we said we would take on lifestyles that exhibited holy living because our Lord is holy. In this, we said we would be people who follow the ways of Christ and be guided in how we lived by the Lord’s direction.
None of these goals are easy. We cannot accomplish them on our own. The only way to reach these goals will be to grow in our faith in Christ, to pray, to seek the Lord’s direction, and to be dedicated to loving others because Christ has loved us.
I’m excited for what may happen in 2013. May it be a year of growth and transformation in our lives and the life of our communities.