Yup, you read it correctly. I am not giving you a “theme” this year.
Normally, this is the place where the minister gives an encouraging focus for the year for the congregation. This year is going to be a little different. As I looked back at the last several years worth of reports and messages written by my predecessor or me, there was something that ran in all of them. There seemed to be an encouragement at the collective unit functioning together. To be fair, that is exactly as you might expect it to be. Certainly there is nothing wrong with that message. Honestly, next year you can probably expect something like that to appear again in 2016.
But not this year. This year’s message is different. While I can’t address each of you individually, I offer you this: [INSERT YOUR THEME HERE].
YOUR theme. Based on YOUR passion for the Lord. Using YOUR God-given talents. What is it that YOU have to offer the kingdom of God? And don’t say “Nothin’.” You know better. You know we were “created in Christ Jesus for good works” Eph. 2:10. You know that means we have purpose beyond our salvation. You know our existence is not simply to walk through the “plan of salvation” and be done. You know your purpose is to chase after the good works God has “prepared beforehand” Eph. 2:10. You just need to do it.
So what is your theme about? What gifts do you have? If for some reason you are not sure, consider Rom. 12:3-8. Paul addresses our differences in the Lord. Not all of us have the same function. Not to worry though. Go ahead and do your best with what you do best. Or as Paul says “Exercise them accordingly.” Another way of saying it is [INSERT YOUR THEME HERE].
When you follow this command, here’s what I believe you’ll find: whatever your gift or talent may be, when you do it to the best of your ability, the group only gets better. Not only that, but you’re fulfilling exactly what God saved you for. Is it easy to live your purpose? No. Not always. Honestly, it is easier to be afraid and as a result not do anything. Especially if you have lived for years hiding your “candle under a bushel.” But God didn’t save you so you could cower in fear, wondering if you’ll ever be worth anything to the kingdom. He saved you because He loves you and because you have work to do. So, as much help as it might be, don’t rely on me to tell you what your next step is in the service to the Lord. You don’t need it. You know way better than I do what the next step is. [INSERT YOUR THEME HERE]