Technology has changed the way we navigate. No more maps or wondering where we are. It is a screen, a voice, a little pointer and we can be sure where we are at any given moment. The only risk is that we trust it too much! An unimaginable change just a few years ago.
Looking ahead and wondering what this year will mean for GMP is harder than following Google Maps! The variables are infinite and outside of our control. Hebrews 12: 1-4 has helped as I look ahead. The writer sees us as runners in a race set before us. The stands are full (so great a cloud of witnesses) and we race without distraction, looking to the one who is before us – Jesus (the pioneer and perfector of our faith). Jesus is our example. His race was to the cross, he experienced hostility and did not lose heart and is now seated with God. These are rich images to reflect on, a key one being to keep our attention on Jesus.
So, as I anticipate the future for GMP there are three distinct themes.
The first is uncertainty. Every time we begin to feel confident and anticipate a return to ‘normal’, COVID-19 makes its presence felt. Whether we are talking about our partners, their ministries and programs or considering our own church communities, uncertainty is a reality. How we respond is critical. During uncertainty, we need to be clear about what is core to our work. For GMP this is ‘Partnering Across Nations’ in mission. GMP’s core focus is found in our partnering, and in seasons of uncertainty this reliable and consistent partnering is all the more critical. In 2022 GMP will continue to be in partnership.
A second theme is transition. In the course of 2022, GMP will face a series of transitions and some will fundamentally change GMP’s work. With the National Redress Scheme’s impact (linked to the past operation of Aboriginal missions with children) GMP will not have the reserves we have relied on to sustain Indigenous Ministries Australia. The impact of this is hard to contemplate. Another transition is the way that GMP engages with Australian churches. With rising costs, GMP will ensure that our partners remain the focus of our work. In a few weeks, we will outline a new way of engaging with Australian churches.
Finally, a third theme is opportunity. There are extremely positive new opportunities for Churches of Christ Overseas Aid and these will be announced in the coming months. We have opportunities to develop GMP’s mission partnerships in what looks like being a third year with little, if any, travel. Creativity in communication and relationship development is continuing. New opportunities is a core theme in GMP’s new Strategic Map (out soon!)
What gives us hope? Looking to Jesus, 130 years of witnesses around us, and running with determination the race that lies before us!
John Gilmore, Executive Officer