Self-improvement more than New Year’s resolutions

Jeremy Rensford, chair of the Shepparton Ministers' Association. Photo: Steve Hutcheson

By Jeremy Rensford
HAPPY New Year! It’s with good intentions that we begin the new year, and many of us, just over four weeks ago, made a bunch of New Year’s resolutions. Which ones have you made? A quick Google search tells us that health resolutions seem to pop up as the most common ones – lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more – you get the drill. Impressively,

I read one article that mentioned a common one was to volunteer for a charity.
It’s kind of cool that you’re reading this article at the start of February – it’s a perfect time to check in with everyone and ask – have you kept up with all the resolutions you’ve made? I’ve heard that about 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail! Are you in the 20 percent zone? I’m not! Thinking a bit deeper about this, I appreciate the great intentions we have to get better at life, but I also reflect on the fact that failure is something that is common to us as humans. Very common.

So, what about when we fail? What about when we get things wrong? Well thankfully I reckon I’m an expert on this! And I’m one of the local clergy! I get feedback about Christians that sometimes we come across as ‘goody goody’, ‘holier than thou’ type people that take the moral high ground. And yes, some of us Christians unfortunately ‘let the team down’ in this respect, however I, and every other Christian in our city of Greater Shepparton are no different to anyone else – our actions don’t always match our intentions.

This, if true, makes our local churches potentially great places to be, because instead of being full of judgmental hypocrites, in reality, they’re full of people that don’t always get it right but have decided the way to get better in life is to be in a connected community of people that gets Jesus to help them (He did life really well). Essentially, this approach offers much more likely success than making once-a-year resolutions that we usually can’t keep.

You may have said to yourself: ‘I’d never go to church – the roof would cave in if I went anywhere near that place!’ Well guess what – it won’t. In fact, you may be surprised some of the characters you’ll find in a church near you. In a season where we are ever so aware that we are ‘in this together’, there are wonderful church communities right here in our region that are practicing this at a deeper level than you may expect. We welcome you.