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Here at Movement Australia I've heard countless interviews and stories this year of how God is moving through his church both locally and internationally. Although the challenges are significant, there is much encouragement from those who are seeking to cultivate unity across denominational and theological divides so that the church may more strategically work for the welfare of the towns and cities where it is placed.
As wonderful as these stories are, as I reflect on the year, there's a particular message from Nick Scott, Seniour Pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Chuch, Perth, that sticks in my mind. His message was just four simple words which in my opinion sums up the thread of what God is wanting to do in and through his church.
Are you ready?
You may recognise this as a Kingdom inversion of the Olympic Games moto: Faster, Higher, Stronger, Together.
Nick Scott explains it in this way: Slower - model a slowed down approach of waiting on God and resting in him. Lower - a life marked by genuine humility towards one another and in serving the community. Weaker - a life through which God's power is made perfect through our weakness not our strength. Together - a unified church bound in Christ-like love.
These four words run counter to the culture of the world around us and unfortunately much of the culture within the church and yet they illuminate to me the Christ-like spirit that must characterise followers of Jesus.
I know it's subjective, but for me this was a key message in 2021 and lights the way forward for the church in 2022.
Whether you agree or not, I trust you have time this Christmas to reflect on the year that was and find God for the year ahead.
Evan Shelton works for Movement Australia in communications and media.