Breaking new ground?
By Rev Dr Kate Coleman, Rev Cham Kaur-Mann

New Year greetings!  We have finally arrived in 2021…

Like so many of you, we have mixed feelings about 2020.  For within the currents of trauma and despair, counter currents of possibility and hope have also flowed, and we have experienced both. 

At the beginning of 2020, Kate's blog post was titled ‘New year, new decade, new normal’!  Like others, she talked about 2020 vision (i.e. the clarity or sharpness of vision measured at 20 feet that opticians define as ‘normal’) and the need some have to make physical adjustments to their eyes (aka contact lenses or glasses!) in order to attain it.  She spoke of the need we all have for improved levels of clarity and sharpness of vision in what was the coming year and decade.  Well, we are now well and truly into the new decade and we wonder what it might hold for you? 

Our own thoughts and prayers have been absorbed by the theme of ‘ground-breaking’, as we believe this is very much on God’s agenda.

The significance of 2020 was ‘unclear’ to most of us, even as many caught glimpses of what lay ahead.  Thankfully, God who is both alpha and omega was not taken by surprise at the turn of events (although the same could not be said for us… perhaps we’ll keep that to an ‘I’ statement!).  God had already seen this from the very beginning, just as the future is also known by God.  

We have now had an opportunity to embrace what can only be described as ‘2020’ clarity over this past year.  Perhaps now, more than ever, we are clearer that truth really does matter, the world matters, our neighbours’ matter, the ‘least of these’ matter, what we mean by ‘key workers’ matters, the environment matters, justice matters, ethics and morality matter… feel free to add your own ‘matters’, the list is endless.  

Even though 2021 is finally with us, so much still remains the same.  The reality is, a change of time and date are merely symbolic unless new commitments emerge, especially as so many people  continue to face varying degrees of chaos, heartbreak, and uncertainty. However, 2021 has also been accompanied by a sense of new hope and this can be galvanised into ground-breaking commitments full of promise.  We know that:

Ground breaks when… fault lines or foundations are fundamentally unsound

Ground breaks when… the earthquakes or volcanoes erupt

Ground breaks when… what we’re building is greater than the groundworks we prepared for it

Ground breaks when… we dispense with patterns we thought were ‘normal’

Ground breaks when… life finds a way...

But Ground also breaks when… we do what we can to break the unhealthy, unyielding and resistant…

Martin Luther King Jr’s, ‘I have a Dream’ Speech, originally called "Normalcy, Never Again", was a ground-breaking moment for many.  It clarified the hope and fortified the faith of what many believed to be possible with God, the breaking with the pre-existing 'normalcy'. 

Like Martin’s dream, our hopes need to be bigger than our own small world of friends, family and community (especially while confined to our ‘bubbles’).  We too share his dream of a God inspired transformation and we long to dispense with what 2020 vision has revealed to be the old ‘normal’... 

We are in search of something far better...  

What we have experienced so far, is not yet the transformation we long for, it is only the possibility of change.  For while change can be imposed, transformation must be owned, it relies on our willing and able participation and contribution.

So, as you look back and look forward, what ground-breaking commitments will you ‘own’ in 2021?

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About the authors

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).

Rev Cham Kaur-Mann

Rev Cham Kaur-Mann has nearly 20 years leadership experience, in the church, charity and voluntary sectors and is a mentor and coach to leaders. She is the first (and currently only) Asian woman minister within the Baptist Union of Great Britain.

Cham is Co-Director of Next Leadership and has also worked with the Cinnamon Network as the Trainers’ Team Manager, delivering leadership training across the UK.

She is a motivational speaker with a unique and compelling ability to ‘story a story’.  Cham mentors, coaches and supports leaders from a variety of sectors.  She is author of ‘Images of Jesus’ and ‘Are there traditional “women’s ministries”?’

Cham is a Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach.