This year our family did something new when it came to decorating for Christmas....
As we have begun the new year, I’ve been reflecting on the insights shared about what 2024 may hold for our world. I have appreciated perspectives from Christian leaders like Carey Nieuwhof and secular analysts like Anthony Pompliano. A common theme often emerges: the prediction of increased instability and ambiguity, causing a rising level of anxiety for many, including myself.
The past year, 2023, was marked by disruptions both professionally and personally. It’s challenging to fathom that 2024 could surpass the levels of disruption and ambiguity we experienced last year. However, as I observe the landscape around us, it’s evident that uncertainties persist. Politically, we are entering another contentious and polarizing election year. Financially, we face the highest interest rates in the last two decades and significant inflation. The ongoing mental health challenges, with pandemic-levels of depression and anxiety, add to the complexities. Furthermore, research from Barna and Pew raises concerns about the future of Christianity in America.
If 2024 indeed brings greater disruption, we must navigate it with intentionality. When faced with fears and threats, our natural tendency is to resort to fight or flight/freeze responses. This year, I encourage a healthy balance and expression of both. We may need to fight and work diligently, recognizing that our usual approaches may not yield the results they once did. Our ordination vows call us to “serve with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love,” and we must do so more profoundly.
Simultaneously, let’s engage in a healthy form of flight—not as escapism into behaviors like social media, overeating, or binge-watching, but by retreating into the comforting embrace of our Lord and Savior. Reflecting on Philippians 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus,” we find solace even when our thoughts and fears threaten to spin out of control. The peace promised to us is obtained through rejoicing in the Lord, and through prayer and supplication, making our requests known to God.
As we step into 2024, my hope for ECO is a renewed commitment to building flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ. Let us achieve this by staying deeply connected to Him through Scripture and prayer.
In Christ’s Love,