Early January is a special time of year for me. It’s the end of one year, and all the stresses and busyness of life is suspended a while as we get away for a family holiday. But it’s also the beginning of a new year – a fresh year, full of possibility and potential. A chance to regroup and refocus. A space to think about priorities and strategies. A time to ask God to reveal his plans and purposes for the year ahead.
One of the dreams my husband and I share for 2013 comes from our ongoing conversation about church in a circle. It feels like a logical next step from the journey we’ve been on the past few years. We know that many of God’s people are looking for fresh expressions of church, but that few of them know how to move away from performance to facilitation. People today want to be involved. They want to be heard. They want to be empowered. They don’t want to just sit in rows and listen to one person’s point of view. The post-broadcasting, connected era we are moving into calls for a new, interactive approach to leadership, but Bible Colleges and seminaries continue to train up new generations of performers.
A performer draws attention to themselves – a facilitator draws attention to others.
A performer speaks from the front – a facilitator becomes part of the circle.
A performer gives the right answers – a facilitator asks the right questions.
A performer does all the talking – a facilitator gets everyone else talking.
A performer gives people something to listen to – a facilitator listens to people, and gives them a voice and a value.
Our goal for 2013 is to see a “facilitator’s school” emerge. We don’t know yet what it will look like, how it will work or who will run it – but we do know that if this vision is from God, he will fill in all the details at the right time. Unless God builds this “school”, any effort we put into it is useless. We’re praying he sends the right people at the right time, as he has done in the past in unexpected ways. We hope you will pray along with us, for God to begin a “new thing” in his church.
Where is God leading you in this new year? Do you have a vague idea, or a specific, well fleshed out vision? Are you looking forward to the next 12 months, or are you nervous about what may lie ahead? I pray that God guides you, and makes your paths straight in 2013.