Happy New Year!
You (and I) have well and truly arrived in a whole new year and a brand new decade. However, a great deal seems to have remained the same, apart from the dates of course! Nevertheless, for many of us, even the change of dates signals fresh opportunities and challenges requiring fresh vision to accompany the fresh responsibilities that inevitably follow.
Under such circumstances, what we often refer to as 2020 vision (what else?!) would, of course, be perfect (forgive my play on words, I couldn’t help myself and I’m pretty sure I won’t be the first, or last one to try!). However, I have reached a stage in life, biologically at least, where 2020 vision (i.e. the clarity or sharpness of vision measured at 20 feet that my optician defines as ‘normal’) is only attainable, if I literally make physical adjustments to my eyes and/or reading glasses (you are now among a select few who know that I have to wear these from time to time)!
And judging from the state of the world (a big place that feels increasingly small and less safe); the environment (some of which is literally ‘on fire’); cross political, economic, racial, ethnic and gender line relationships (many of which continue to be tense and fractious), there are some things for which we may all need improved levels of clarity and sharpness of vision in this coming year and decade, particularly as so much seems to be decidedly abnormal (even if your physical eyesight is not).
There are challenges, opportunities and responsibilities that will call for renewed, undistorted perspectives if we are to keep in step with Jesus and act in ways that manifest God’s kingdom.
Perhaps, like me, as the old year ended and the new year began, you also took time to look back and reflect on the character and content of your last decade. Perhaps you considered what had changed for the better and even for the worse, why it had changed and/or how it had changed. Perhaps you celebrated every amazing breakthrough and lamented every moment of despair. Perhaps you looked around and thanked God for your family, friends and local church. Perhaps you took this to another level and lifted your sights beyond you and yours, to the world, environment, justice, ethics, immorality and the seismic local and global shifts. Perhaps you also considered how ‘troubling’ some aspects of life might feel for the neighbours you have come to know and love, as well as those you greet from time to time or don’t really know at all. Maybe you even considered the man/woman who begs for money (or sells the ‘Big Issue’) outside your local supermarket. Having undertaken this reflective process, perhaps you reached a similar conclusion to the one I reached - some things could have been done better or decided differently.
So, going forward, the clarity and sharpness of 2020 vision should enable you to be far more intentional about all those things that really matter to God and you.
My 2020 vision includes a desire for greater courage and conviction, even if it means difficulty and danger. I want to take the kind of risks that Jesus took because he loves me and then display it through my love for others. Dangerous thoughts I know… but perhaps living ‘safely’ in times like these, is somewhat overrated for Christians (at least in the Western world). At the same time, I don’t want to be foolish, in fact, I want to be wiser than ever and more insightful, loving and compassionate. I want to stand for truth, justice and righteousness, in a world that seems increasingly unconcerned about such matters. I want to share the gospel without apology and with the conviction that transformation, empowerment and true peace will always be the inevitable by-products. I want people to see more of Jesus in, through and around me, particularly as I seek to bring more of a kingdom reality to my every interaction. And I definitely want to be part of God’s answer and not part of the world’s problem. For me, this is ‘normal’ Christian living, borne of 2020 vision.
But none of this will be possible without you. An old Sudanese proverb makes it plain, “One hand cannot clap”. We each have a part to play, no single individual can make a difference alone (regardless of what those story books say)! You have a part to play in my story and I in yours. This too is ‘normal’ Christian living.
So, what’s your 2020 vision? Where are you seeking to make a difference at the beginning of this new year and decade? What adjustments might you need to make? What growth will you expect and aim for?
Pray with me... that in this new year and new decade, your 2020 vision and mine will be fully realised.
Rev Dr Kate Coleman
Rev Dr Kate Coleman is the founding director of Next Leadership. She has well over 30 years of leadership experience in the church, charity, voluntary and business sectors, and is a mentor and coach to leaders from diverse sectors, backgrounds and communities.
Kate completed a term as Chair of the Evangelical Alliance Council (2012-2014), is a former president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (2006-2007), and a Baptist Minister.
A popular speaker and lecturer, Kate has gained a reputation as a pioneer, visionary and an inspiration too many. She is a strategic advisor who mentors, coaches and supports leaders and organisations locally, nationally and internationally. Recognised as one of the 20 most influential black Christian women leaders in the UK.
Her network extends across all sectors and church denominations. Kate is the author of 7 Deadly Sins of Women in Leadership. Her media contributions include the mainstream press, radio and TV. Kate is a Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).