The Olympics in Tokyo. What a spectacle! Injuries, controversy, world records, teenagers and even pre-teens winning medals.
Whether or not you find the Olympics interesting, it can’t be denied that it is a spectacle. Many things are on view, but one of them is seeing people strive for a clear goal they have worked towards for many, many years. We see the race, the bout, the routine, the throw, but what we don’t see is more significant. The pain, the sacrifice, the cost, the humility, the setbacks.
Watching the Olympics combined with studying Colossians chapter 2 has given me pause to think about my goals. My personal goals, my leadership goals, my family goals.
The apostle Paul was very clear about his goal for the church in Colossae:
“My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2.2–3 NIV11)
His goals are for the benefit of others, not himself. He is entirely positive and hopeful about the spiritual growth of those to whom he is writing. What are our goals for our churches? And I don’t just mean those of us who have leadership responsibility, but all of us. The congregations we belong to belong to all members. It’s not enough for leaders to have goals, every participant in a congregation can have a goal for the group. What is yours? Is it as positive as Paul’s?
His goals were not numerical, nor structural, nor territorial. What wonderful words he uses here, “encouraged”, “united”, “love”, “understanding”, “know…Christ”, “treasures”. We know our goals when we listen to our own words. Are my conversations with other church members filled with words like those Paul uses here? If they were, perhaps we’d find ourselves “overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:7). What do I need more than anything else right now? Not a change of circumstances, or that COVID will suddenly go away, but an overflow of thankfulness inspired by Christ in me and in one another.
Goals may take many forms. Not even numerical goals are inherently sinful. However, all congregational goals must surely lead to Christ and be inspired by him. What could you do this week to develop a healthy Christ-centred spiritual goal for your congregation? Let me know what you think.
The near future
- Working on plans (together with Andy Boakye and Douglas Jacoby) for a UK & Ireland teaching programme based on the Athens Institute of Ministry. We hope to launch in January 2022.
- Continuing work on a lesson on Colossians 2 for the Tallinn conference in August – flights and hotel are now booked in faith!
- Please come to the conference if you – at least virtually if not in person.
- My father coming to stay with us for a weekend. It will be the first time he’s been away since my mother died earlier this year.
- Our next family group meeting on Friday at the home of our good friends Barry and Kate Edwards.
- Taking delivery of our second electric vehicle. We’ve gone fully electric now. The last petrol car will ever own will be driven off our driveway on Tuesday.
God bless, Malcolm