The book of Luke gives us, perhaps, the most detailed account of the birth of Christ in all of scripture. Then, upon telling a quick story from Jesus’ childhood, Jesus’ growing up is summarized it in this manner:
52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Jesus grew up. Like you and I, it probably featured an awkward moment or two (or in my case, 200). What we can be assured of though – is that the 8lb, 6 oz baby Jesus of Ricky Bobby’s prayers didn’t stay there. Neither should we.
This time of year, it’s commonplace to share your hopes, dreams, and excitements for the New Year. It’s also easy to make these lists and watch them fall into nothing more than sentiments and good intentions.
If I could summarize my hope for our church in 2017, it would be that our church would grow in the manner of Luke 2:52. Just as Jesus grew beyond the manger, that our church will grow in holistic spiritual health. It’s both our genuine prayer and our plan for our church in the upcoming year; for the Foundry to grow in wisdom & stature, and in favor of God and man.
I am excited to see us grow in wisdom and knowledge as a church. I am excited to continue to be a church that is grows in biblical wisdom. We are a church committed to exploration. Regardless of where you are on your journey, there are a plethora of opportunities to explore and growth in knowledge of faith in Jesus at the Foundry in 2017. Early in the year, we’ll explore the traps of comparison and materialism, then take a deep look at our connecting our souls to the right source of Hope the during the Lenten season. We’ll study large themes of scripture, then specific sections of the Bible. We’ll explore spiritual disciplines and how to make them frequent and helpful in our lives. Each week, the Sunday conversations will be catalyst to mid-week opportunities to apply these conversations together. If you’re not part of a group, or you haven’t been in a while, it is a great season to reconnect.
I am excited to see us grow in stature; namely, relational equity. Our goal is at the Foundry is to create an environment that allows for skepticism and is willing to walk alongside it. I am excited to see new faces step into service teams that help to create such a space. I am excited for new faces to connect to our church because a friend or someone that loves them invited them. I am excited to see others step up in helping create a place of exploration. Following the craziness in our country in 2016, there is a prime opportunity for the church to live on display. I am also excited to see how our church grows closer together. For men, I’d highlight our Manuary event on Jan 27/28, I’d invite everyone to mark his or her calendars for a special brunch on 2/19. Finally, ladies, don’t miss your getaway on March 24/25!
I am excited to see how our church grows in favor with God. I am not saying that God will love the Foundry more in 2017 than he did in 2016; rather, I am praying that our church continues to walk in the blessings God has brought to our church. There are so many gifts, talents, and abilities in our church that God wants to use to impact our city. There are new blessings that God is going to provide. We must be aware and ready to steward both well. I am praying for people who attend the Foundry to really see how God wants to use their stories, their resources and all of their lives to make an impact in this world. I am excited to see new ways that our church innovates being a picture of God’s Hope to the world.
Finally, I am excited to grow in favor with man. There are so many divisions in our city – so many us/thems. There are so many opportunities to serve. I am excited to serve our city in some of the ways that our church has over the past few years: through neighborhood groups that love their communities, through service weeks, and through events like the Christmas Store. I am also excited to see new partnerships already developing. Last fall’s Urbanology sessions had an underlying theme: that a bridge building church is one that is willing to invest in relationships. My prayer is that the Foundry both invites you and equips you to make an impact in your city and world this year.
Here’s to an incredible 2017.