It’s only in the last few years that we have felt the Lord lead us to adopt a theme for the year. Last year, before many of us went into lockdown in our homes, we had felt the Lord put on our hearts the theme, Welcome home. This year, we have felt the Lord lead us to focus on the theme, grow. The word grow conjures up different emotions in me. There was a time, quite early in my pastoral ministry, when it was recommended to me that I engage a ministry coach. It was my desire to do all I could to see our little church at Legana grow. The ministry coach agreed that this should be my focus. It just so happened that at this time I was in the throes of my doctoral studies.
If you want to be truly successful it won’t be because of your income or bank balance. Neither will it be because of your social media popularity. Success is measured by who we are — which determines how we relate to others, especially those closest to us. This is why we are so surprised when we learn that many rich and famous celebrities are so desperately lonely and depressed and unable to succeed in love. I have met many high flyers who are publicly admired yet, secretly, feel they are failures because their marriages and parental relationships are dysfunctional. This is why I’ve come to see “success” as being measured by a person’s ability to know how to be a good person who engages with people appropriately.
Something very unique in human history happened part-way through the twentieth century and it has had a devastating impact on local churches all around the world! The concept of ‘family’ went nuclear. A ‘nuclear’ family (dad, mum, and the kids, living in a house with a white picket fence) somehow became regarded as the family. What made this concept of the family so out-of-step with how nearly all cultures for time-immemorial have viewed what a ‘family’ was, is that this twentieth-century Western concept of family completely dismissed the role that grand-parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even great-grandparents have played in the understanding of family.