We asked leaders from around our movement to name their highlight of 2020. In a year of tragedy, disorientation and disconnection – here are their stories of hope in a God who continues to be active in spite of our circumstances.
Brett White, Kingsway Community Church, Sydney
The delight for me in 2020, as the leader of Kingsway Churches for over 20 years, has been witnessing the incredible adaptability, innovation and genuine love for our community lived out by the leaders, teams, and communities across our 3 campuses. It has been a blessing to watch them thrive during chaos and uncertainty, inspired by love to live differently.
We believe that if what the church does on a Sunday is bigger, better, or brighter than what it does in and for the community the rest of the week, it’s not really being the church.
In a season like 2020, staying the same, being reactive and resisting change was not an option for us, and the Kingsway team has grown into the challenge with unity, grace, and conviction. Leading 3 churches, 1 of these in Cambodia, has been intense, and yet filled with many beautiful moments along the way.
I believe that 2020 has given our faith communities many unique and powerful opportunities. Opportunities to reshape, revision and realign ourselves to the core of what it means to be the church in a world that is craving hope, belonging and purpose. Opportunities for innovative solutions, adaptive leadership, and creative connection.
Vicki Keogh, Armidale Church of Christ
At the beginning of 2020, God whispered to me that this year would be an adventure and oh what an adventure it has been, one that was beyond my imagination.
In a year that we all learned that things could change at any minute and not a lot of planning could be done, God was still planning (Jeremiah 29:11). Personally, this year has been as He promised: an adventure, one that I never thought could happen and certainly not in a year of chaos.
Since the beginning of 2020 (and probably long before), God has been weaving a change in my life. This change became clear recently when He called my husband and I to leave Armidale to go on an adventure with Him into ministry. This call has reoriented me, bringing many new possibilities and I am sure will be life-giving. This call both excites me and scares me, as so much is unknown, but I am trusting in God, knowing He has got this. (Ephesians 2:10).
2020 has been unusual and quite traumatic for some, but our God has been steadfast and unchanging in this season as He is in every season. (Lamentations 3:22).
Stephen Cathcart, Southern Church, Illawarra
Finally. Finally, we had the go ahead from the local Christian school that we could gather as church once a month on a Sunday morning. We gathered delighting that we could connect, disliking that we cannot sing songs of worship to God. But we can share our stories.
The stories revealed the spectrum of life. Some shared stories of the sadness and sorrow of being alone during lockdown; the grief and loss of burying a family member with only a few can attend a funeral; the difficulties and demands of home schooling and work. At the other end of the spectrum some shared the ease and enjoyment of less demands in COVID lockdown.
Then, the story that reinvigorates. A person declares that they had been a lukewarm Christian and through this lockdown are now a fully devoted follower of the Lord Jesus. We celebrate this change a few weeks later in baptism.
It was a reminder that God keeps working despite what we might see and feel. God keeps working in people’s lives. Whilst the church buildings may have been shut, God was not closed down. Whilst we may have been in lockdown, God was not confined! God is at large doing a good work in His people.
Watch for more stories on our Fresh Hope Instagram and Facebook pages over summer!