Each time I write the date I double check myself! Did I write 2021? This simple point of focus serves as a constant reminder that this is a New Year. One year ago, our hopes were high, but the reality of 2020 was different as lock downs, working from home and restrictions became the new norm. Anticipated face-to-face contact with our partners was not possible.
GMP’s partners had plans and expectations for 2020. We saw projects adapted, pastors learning new ways to maintain contact with people, as they encouraged those who were experiencing greater levels of fear and vulnerability.
As we look ahead, we do so with less certainty than in the past. Let me offer some learnings from 2020!
- We need each other. We are a global village and the actions of one impact on another. Rich and poor, powerful and vulnerable – all of us are at risk. We need each other – spiritually, relationally and financially.
- Mission continues. The restrictions we have do not alter the call of God to be the people of Jesus. Our partners, national and international, keep reaching out and do so with a confidence in the presence of God.
- Flexibility is essential. Rigid plans are not helpful in times of rapid change. Our identity and call to mission is not flexible. More than ever we need to be clear that we are the Church – with a clear message that God’s grace shown in Jesus is life-changing. The means and strategies of expressing this change. The message does not.
- Technology and new forms of communication are gifts. We thank God for them. We have learned so much in such a short period of time. In some ways we are all a little more connected and more aware of the situation others face.
- Questions of justice don’t go away. The pandemic is global. Many, many countries have heath systems that struggle with the load. Well-ordered governments are planning the vaccine roll out. What of people living in situations of high risk? How can this be done following the words of Jesus where the ‘least matter most’? The Australian Government’s decision to increase the Aid Budget so that vulnerable countries get access to the vaccine is to be commended.
We still have hopes, expectations, plans. There are lots of opportunities before us and in going forward we do so in the confidence that we are not alone and that we have the grace and presence of God to guide us.