Monday, January 2, 2012

Six New Year's Resolutions

As someone who is spiritually inclined I don’t put much stock in ‘resolutions.’  I think it’s better to have conviction, self-discipline, and commitment to Christ to bring about positive change.  However, having said that, I’m not a kill-joy or fuddy-duddy.  Resolutions are okay, kind of, as long as I keep them in perspective.  At any rate, here are six resolutions I’m working towards achieving:

1.  I am going to establish a healthy pace.  I don’t believe God will bless my life and my ministry if I deny the principles found in His Word; principles such as a Sabbath rest, right priorities, and not working too many hours.  This includes things like daily time to connect with God, the discipline of prayer-journaling, and blocking off vacation time months in advance for rest, recuperation, and renewal.

2.  I will invest in my family.  Before I cheat them, I will cheat the ministry.  This begins with my marriage.  When I look back over the years and recall the ministers I know who have self-destructed because of infidelity or neglect of their marriages, I realize no one is immune.  These are people you don’t read about in the news – these are people I know personally.  The list is now in the double digits.  I will not be a statistic.  My marriage and family (as well as yours) need to come before my ministry because unhealthiness will eventually end my ministry anyway.

3.  I will deliberately grow other leaders.  The emphasis is both on ‘grow; and ‘other leaders.’  I need both.  PCC needs both.  In fact, any leader at PCC who doesn’t want to see other leaders developed and raised up is too prideful.

4.  I will serve other people.  We lead because we serve.  It’s what Jesus modeled for us. We serve the people on our team. We serve our congregation.  We serve the people we’re trying to reach and help. Practically, it’s also healthy for us to get outside our comfort zones to serve people who are different than us. When we love God and love others, it makes our personal problems seem very small.

5.  Personally, I will spend time outside my everyday world.  I see the way too many church leaders live their entire lives in a little bubble.  They don’t get outside the walls to meet real people with real problems. They don’t take time to travel and take in new experiences. They don’t create space to discover new questions and new ideas. It’s hard to be a missionary in a “foreign land” when you don’t really know the people you are trying to reach.

6.  I’m getting in reacquainted with a stranger in my life – me.  It's easy to drown in details and lose contact with myself in the process.  Not this year.  Things will be different. 

The calendar says it’s time for new beginnings, and fortunately we serve a God of grace who offers fresh starts. The world around us is changing. In many ways it’s deteriorating.  That’s where a new start comes in.

For me it begins with being healthy.

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