It has been a very busy year. 2007 is in its final days and I sit here wondering how in the world that the year could be over. For goodness sakes, I am just now getting used to writing 2007 on my checks instead of 2006! Yet, ready or not, the old year is about to be out and the new year will be in. I hope you had a wonderful 2007. I know I did.
Just a few weeks ago we had a monumental event take place here in Nashville. We did what should have been done years ago. We had a combined Torch / IRC board meeting and coupled that with a team leaders meeting. We had team leaders from across the United States come to Nashville for a much overdue information meeting. More than 20 attended the meeting that was held at Lipscomb University. Meetings began at 8:00 and ran until 4:30 that afternoon. A lot was accomplished including going over 2008 calendars, team trips, rules, retreat ideas, and lots and lots of information. I am convinced that this meeting will help all of us to have a better and more productive trip this summer.
As 2008 approaches, many of us will begin the ritual of making our new year’s resolutions. Yes, I know, lots of people do not even bother with such a frivolous activity, but some still do. And, I also know very well that most people will break their resolutions within 3 months of the new year. Can we all say, “Been there, done that?” So, as we prepare our lists of do’s and don’ts for 2008, may I suggest a few for you to consider? I challenge us all to consider the following:
1. Dedicate specific prayer time each week to Torch Missions. There are at least 14 teams signed up and ready to go for 2008. We are estimating between 400-500 people will go on the various trips. There is a lot of planning and coordination that will have to take place to make all of this run smoothly and effectively.
2. If you are going on a trip this year, start now to prepare for the trip. Start collecting things that you want to take to give away. Make sure your passport is current and up to date. Make sure your application and deposit is ready to turn in before February 20th.
3. Start putting away money for your trip. A few dollars a week can really add up over the course of 6 or 7 months. $3 a day adds up to over $500 in just 6 months! Don’t delay on fundraising efforts!
4. Ask to find out what you (or your group) can do to help plan and organize the trip. There are a LOT of different things that need to be done to get ready for the trip. “Divide and conquer” really works when it comes to getting everything ready for the trip.
5. Get others involved. Collecting supplies, boxing and labeling items, and encouraging others to donate money for various projects (Bible give aways, building supplies for houses, food distribution give aways, etc.) are ways to get several involved.
6. Invite and encourage others to go on your trip. Be persistent. It took me a couple of years of constant “encouragement” to get Tim Hines to go on his first trip. The same was true for Jen Wright. Remember Luke 11:1-13? The persistence of the man finally paid off and he received the bread from his neighbor that he needed in the middle of the night.
7. Prepare yourself. Put on your ministry early and wear it often. Make your trip an extension of who you already are… a servant. Get involved in ministry efforts locally and carry that mindset with you into the foreign mission field. It will make all the difference for you and the ones that you serve.
AS 2008 approaches, I can’t help but to think and dream about all of the things that can happen this year. I am so excited about the potential that 2008 holds, but potential must be tapped in order for it to be of any use or value. What does 2008 have in store for you? That, my friend, is up to you. May God bless and challenge you in 2008. And, more importantly, may you be willing to accept the blessings and challenges that He will give you.
Up next: important dates to remember and trip information!