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We live in a very individualistic, Western society.

Everything we think about is inherently viewed through the lens of the individual – when we leave a job, it’s because “I had to do what’s best for me”; at church (which ironically is corporate, by its very nature), it’s all about “me and God”; our leisure time is largely spent on private hobbies or vacations.  And those are just a few small examples.  It’s how we think as Americans.

And at the New Year, so often our resolutions are about our personal health, personal development, personal well-being.

There’s nothing wrong with that… unless we neglect our communities, which sadly is a common trait among us.

Everything we think about is inherently viewed through the lens of the individual. #individualism Click To Tweet

*Parenthetical Note*fortress building

I’ll admit to you, readers, that I wanted to title this article “Community-Focused New Years Resolutions”, but in order to draw in more readers, I thought “Outward-Focused New Years Resolutions” would do the trick.

You see, if I say “outward”, it appeals to our own self-reflection, which first starts with the individual.  Hence, more engagement of American readers.

But if I had said “community”, the individual seems not even to be considered, and could cause some to pass this article by.  After all, its nature all but ignores “me” in exchange for “those outside myself”.  Not as exciting to the average American.

Maybe it was an unnecessary consideration, but I made it all the same, because of our societal bent.  (If you disagree with my assumption, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section.)

Okay, back to resolutions.

If resolutions are all about new beginnings and new initiatives, let’s make it about serving our churches, communities, and cities.

Here are a few ideas:

Meet 5 Neighbors

Most of us don’t even know out neighbors.  We see them when they walk out to their cars in the morning, and when they walk to their front doors in the evening.  We don’t know their names, and if they park in the garage, we might never see them.

Try getting to know your neighbors this year.  If you don’t, how will you be able to follow Jesus’ command to “Love your neighbor“.

*Note* According to SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound), I wanted to put an actual number in this resolution.  So maybe 5 is arbitrary, but at least it is measurable.

Open Your Home to Meet People’s Needs

DeathtoStock_Medium3Hospitality is so important in the Scriptures.  It is a qualification for someone if they want to lead churches.  It is a measurement of whether an older woman lived her life appropriately.  It is what the early church did on a regular basis for their communities.

I wrote more in depth about hospitality in this article.

So be hospitable in 2016.  Don’t just have your friends over for barbecues (which is still a very good thing), but serve the needs of strangers who could never pay you back.

Get to Know a City Councilman

Do you want to learn more about what problems your city faces?  I hope the answer is yes.

Get to know a city councilman.  Ask him or her what your church can do to help meet needs in the community.

In my experience, if you give those civic leaders respect and do your best not to give off a creepy vibe, then they are surprisingly approachable.

Teach a Community Class

Everyone has a talent or a skill which is valuable to the community.  Maybe you know the keys to becoming fit.  Maybe you are able to manage personal finances really well.  Maybe you specialize in oil paintings.

So offer those abilities in service to your community.  Teach a course through Parks & Rec or even through your church.

Mentor Someone at Church

window thinkingNow we’re getting serious.

Titus 2 and 2 Timothy 2:2 show us how important it is for the older to teach the younger, for leaders to raise up more leaders.

This takes a very large time investment, patience, love, and persistence.  But if we want to function as the church is supposed to function, then every person in the church has to do this for someone who is less mature in the faith.

Help Fund a Community Project

Have you been saving up for a boat?  A new TV?  A nicer vehicle?

Put that off another year and use that money to help fund a community project.

Give toward the new community center that the city is putting up, and help keep kids out of gangs, off of drugs, and off the street.

Give toward that non-profit which is helping teens with unplanned pregnancies to become educated, build their lives as adults, and most importantly, care for their babies in the best way possible.

Give toward your church if they are truly serving the community through the gospel and good works.

Happy New Year!

Let's make resolutions about serving our churches, communities, and cities. #happynewyear Click To Tweet

As the ball drops at 12:00am on January 1, 2016, kiss someone.

But also take the opportunity to start a new year (which is symbolically a new beginning or a new life) by giving of yourself to your community.

Don’t let your New Years Resolutions be all about you.  God wants us all to meet urgent needs of others, so let’s honor Him in it.

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