2012: How will your church engage one of the most anticipated years?

by Jere Mahaffey

Think about it… we've been talking about 2012 since 2008.

It all began with the Mayan calendar obsession. For anyone who took a news sabbath for the last four years, the Mayan calendar obsession was a circulating story in the media about an ancient Mayan calendar ending in the year 2012. For the record, the Mayan culture had many calendars which ended at various points. (insert sigh of ancient cultural relief)

The hype continued as we entered into the 2008 election season. Everyone wondered what the next four years under a new president would look like.  All political eyes were already anticipating the 2012 end to the then unknown president's four year term.  I even remember seeing a statirical t-shirt that read "Sarah Palin 2008" on the front and "…the world's ending in 2012 anyway" on the back.  For our consersative friends, I did not purchase this admittedly clever albeit overly negative tshirt.

It did not take long for some in the Christian church to jump onto the world-ending frenzy, either. Remember last spring when American Christian radio host, Harold Camping, declared the rapture would occur May 21, 2011? …yeah, about that. (Dear Harold, if you're reading this, check out Matthew 24 and Mark 13.)

Here we are, though. We are tweny-three days into 2012. (Sorry to disappoint, Harold.)

However, 2012 is still an incredibly charged and anticipated year.  It's election season, and already the church has made quite a few splashes in the mainstream media.  Christian organizations have sponsored debates, political prayer ceremonies, and expensive ad campaigns.  Political pundits are asking if right-wing Christian Republicans will allow their party to nominate Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon. With a still struggling economy and troops overseas, many even still fuel conversations about the world's unforeseen ending.

In 2012, the world is looking to see who the church will be and what the church will do.

So here's a question: who will your church be, and what will your church do in 2012? 

If you're like me, politically and socially charged seasons such as these makes you nervous about how the church will or will not be remembered. However, since when were Christians called to live out of fear?  Such an anticipated year and season is, in fact, a unique opportunity for the church.  I pray you and your church will take time this year to prayerfully consider ways in which you can make an impact in your community.  Instead of spreading fear or loaded political jargon, what if the church was remembered in 2012 for making monumental strides toward alleviating poverty, building community partnerships, taking steps toward true justice and peace, and much, much more?

We can be. I pray you and your church will join all of us here at ESA in making 2012 a year for hope and Kingdom building.

The Kingdom is among you, my friends.


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