A new vision for a new year.

Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.

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.

– Kathleen


4 thoughts on “A new vision for a new year.

  1. Hi Kathleen,

    I’m so happy and encouraged after reading your blogs on Church in a Circle. It has been my prayer for some time now that the Freshstart Community will grow under the Lords guidance. I can only begin to tell you how much the Freshstart community has helped me grow in my Christian walk, the stimulus sessions are simple yet very effective in changing the way I think about myself and how I view other people as well as growing in confidence, I’m doing things now that I could only could dream about before.
    The teaching of the word is done in a way that stays with you, even though I have short term memory loss it just stays with me, something that very rarely happens in other churches.

    Through Freshstart, God has changed my life, and I see other peoples lives being changed, which is encouraging, and that has been an important part of my recovery from addiction and my growing in Christ. Thank you very much Freshstart Community and I’m looking forward to catching up with all my brothers and sisters in 2013 and to what God has planned for Church in a circle.

    In Christ

    • David, your words mean a great deal to Kevin-Neil and myself. KN loves being part of the community, and comes home so refreshed every time he meets with you all. He is inspired, encouraged and excited to see God working in your life, and all the brothers and sisters in the community.

      Thank you for sharing and for your words of encouragement. Blessings in 2013,

      – Kathleen and Kevin-Neil

  2. I am praying for the same thing, that we would be rather facilitators than broadcasters or “one-man-speaking-and-the-rest-quietly-listening”. The Lord has to break through in all the members of His Body and strengthen them to function each in their measure. When we all hold the Head, we receive the growth of the Body from the Head, and we grow with the growth of God (Eph. 4:16) and we function in our measure to supply one another with life!

    No matter the age or the race or the educational background, we all have a portion, a function, a measure, without which the Body of Christ is not functioning properly.

    We are all learning to not only function but also bring others into their function. It’s a skill we need to learn and continually develop – not “starting a work and doing everything in that work”, but bringing other members of the Body into their function, and we rather facilitating their function for their growth in life….

    • Stefan,

      Yay! I am encouraged that others are on this journey also.

      Nearly all of us come from the broadcasting model of church, so this feels like new ground – and yet, it is so simple and obvious, and so much of the New Testament makes more sense when you experience the mutual edification of “church in a circle”, or whatever you would like to call it.

      I pray God breathes life into your hopes and dreams this year,

      – Kathleen

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