16 Dec 2009, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Some people at year’s end scoff at those who publicly and earnestly resolve to learn from their foibles and faults and, with any luck, bring a double measure of the wisdom and experience gained during the previous year into the new.
The skepticism is often warranted — countless vows to lose weight, get organized or reinvent oneself often melt away with winter, or earlier. Someone once said, “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”
But for some, a new year isn’t a resignation to circumstances or challenges; rather it’s an opportunity to grow into more generous, genuine and compassionate people.
For the new year, Adventist News Network asked church members and leaders worldwide for their resolutions in three areas: personal, professional and church. Some hope for health and a renewed focus on ministry. Others offered more specific aspirations for the new year, and one contributor sent us quotes that “challenge [him] to grow” instead of resolutions.
We hope their responses encourage you to similarly strive toward as one of our respondents phrased it, “getting it” in 2010. Jarek Wajk, 46
Polish musician, leading Adventist anti-narcotics campaigner
PERSONAL: That my loved ones and friends will feel my care for them and their interests.
PROFESSIONAL: That the new year brings success as I re-launch my musical group, “For Him,” this time including those who are hard of hearing in the concert experience. Also, continued success in my outreach to people of different faiths, generations and those struggling with drug abuse.
CHURCH: That Adventist churches in Poland are filled with love, and that the leaders become more courageous, open and authentic in their service for Jesus, and that their Biblical knowledge finds a practical expression.
Willie Oliver, 51
Director, Family Ministries department, North American region
PERSONAL: Life, health and family.
PROFESSIONAL: My work is the Lord’s, so for me my hopes and aspirations are to help disciple people and help them become a part of the family of God, since that’s what we’re here for.
CHURCH: That my church would truly become a family. And in families, we love each other, accept each other’s differences and rejoice in each other’s successes.
Reinder Bruinsma, 67
Former president of the Adventist Church in the Netherlands
PERSONAL: I hope for a lot of energy and good health to continue my full and (so far) very satisfying retirement.
PROFESSIONAL: I hope my new book, “The Doctrine of the Church” (Review & Herald Publishing, 2009), will make an important contribution to our church life.
CHURCH: I hope and pray that this summer [at the General Conference Session] we will elect leadership that will not only protect our worldwide unity, but also provide space for diversity in the way we “do” church and in the way we experience and formulate our faith and our traditions.
Patrick Allan, 58
Governor-general of Jamaica
PERSONAL: As a Christian, my primary resolution is to seek a closer relationship with God.
PROFESSIONAL: To bring my training and experience deliberately into quality delivery of services that respond to needs.
CHURCH: To consciously and actively model the fundamental principles of our faith, nurturing a credible culture that can impact believers and non-believers alike.
Andrew McChesney, 36
Russian journalist, Adventist Review columnist
PERSONAL: To make it through all nine volumes of Ellen G. White’s “Testimonies for the Church.”
PROFESSIONAL: For people to see Jesus when they look at me at work.
CHURCH: To preach a sermon without any notes other than Bible texts.
Lily Lima, 26
Assistant to director of Children’s Ministries, North American region
PERSONAL: Spend more time with my family, especially my parents, because they’re not going to be around forever.
PROFESSIONAL: I would love to go back to graduate school and get a license in counseling.
CHURCH: I know we’re all very busy, but it would be nice to see more people excited in and involved in church, and be genuine about it.
Chandler Riley, 33
Senior Benefits Specialist, Adventist world church headquarters Human Resources department
PERSONAL: To use 2010 to start exercising and get back into shape.
PROFESSIONAL: To get caught up as the year ends and be ahead of the game in 2010.
CHURCH: I would like to see the church be more focused on the Second Coming of Christ. If we really believe this, we should start living like it.
Ephriam H. Hlophe, 64
Ambassador from Swaziland to the United States
PERSONAL: To strengthen my spiritual life. If I can do that, I will be able to withstand the challenges that lie ahead in 2010.
PROFESSIONAL: As an ambassador, I hope for strength from God to do my job.
CHURCH: My hope is that more and more people — especially young people — will come to know our faith, and for those who are already members to really know what they believe in.
G. Thomas Evans, 64
Treasurer, North American region
PERSONAL: I’d like to pay more attention to my health and spend more time exercising.
PROFESSIONAL: I’d like to finish reading my Bible through this year and maybe start on some other version or translation next year.
CHURCH: Making sure that we follow through on things that are important, like evangelism, despite budgetary and financial constraints. It’s also important to let our constituents know what happens to the tithes and offerings they return.
Angela Berry, 44
Police sergeant, Cutler Ridge district station in Miami, Florida
PERSONAL: To make a more conscious effort to gain a closer walk with God. I’ve dealt with some obstacles in the past few years, and God has truly been my strength, and I want to get to know him better.
PROFESSIONAL: As a newly promoted sergeant in my department, I’ve been assigned a new area, and I want to be used by God there. People knew me and my standards and what to expect of me in my former position, and my hope is that my rank doesn’t change me, but that I can be an agent of change.
CHURCH: My hope is for us to become more involved in our communities, especially with the young people.
Ella Simmons, 61
First woman vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church
PERSONAL: Take better care of my health by finding more time for rest and relaxation.
PROFESSIONAL: Continue my focus on the changing nature of the church amid the changing conditions in the world.
CHURCH: Spend more time in my home church building mentoring relationships with the young adults there.