My word for 2014. Webster’s Dictionary defines it as: to hold the attention of; to induce to participate; to bring together; to do or take part in something. There are a number of different ways I hope to engage in the coming year but these will be the main ones: social media, writing, speaking, and face-to-face.

Social Media: A big part of social media is being social. I’ve been a big fan of Twitter (@mattlipan) over the past few years but not so much any of the other social networks. This year I plan to engage more not only on Twitter but on Facebook as well. So if we’re connected on one of these networks, especially Twitter, be prepared to see me tweet more and either jump into conversations already happening or attempt to start new ones.

Writing: One of the big things that came out of 2013’s word, create, was the creation of this blog and with that, a couple different writing opportunities. The project I’ve been most excited to write for has been Seedbed from Asbury Theological Seminary. Not only do I think it has a great group of writers and academics, I also think their content is inspiring, practical, and interesting. I’m hoping to see my writing engage new opportunities this year, possibly with Huffpost Religion or Patheos. Doing some work on a book could also be interesting…

Speaking: Public speaking is one of the main things I do. Every week I get up in front of people and speak, most people call it “preaching” but I like to think of it more as “hosting a conversation while teaching.” Of course I want my weekly sermons to be as engaging as possible but I also want to engage more people through speaking. This means being open to speak and teach in various settings on things I’m knowledgeable of and passionate about. I’m most uncertain about how this way of engaging plays out this year. Could be interesting.

Face-to-Face: This is the one I’m most excited about and typically comes fairly easily for me. As many of you know, my family bought a new house 2 months ago right down the street from our church. The main reason we did that was to live life with the people we go to church with and to better connect with the community around us. This means knowing my neighbors and being a neighbor. It means starting conversations with servers as local restaurants, clerks at the grocery store, owners of small businesses, serving on our HOA board, etc. “Running errands” means so much more now than simply getting things done, it’s engaging people and their lives.

I look forward to seeing how our paths cross this year.