Hey, it’s a new year!
Let’s talk about resolutions.
I’m not talking about your personal resolutions, although, I hope you’re able to keep those.
Let’s talk about resolutions for your church.
It might be a good idea to capitalize on the season and set some goals. There’s an opportunity here. I have a few suggestions to get the ball rolling.
1. Clarify the Mission
Everyone is thinking about goals in January.
So, what’s the goal for your church?
In other words, what’s the mission? What are you trying to accomplish and does everyone know?
For us, our mission is to:
Lead people into a relationship with Jesus and His church
That’s what we’re all about. Everyone knows it because we talk about it all the time.
A simple and effective New Year’s resolution for your church might be to clarify the mission.
If you don’t have a clear mission, take the time to establish and clarify your mission.
If you do have one, what would it take to make sure everyone knows the mission and is working to make it happen?
It’s amazing how easy it is to be busy doing stuff without really knowing if the stuff is effective or worthwhile.
Maybe this is the year to evaluate your practices and determine if you’re still on track or if it’s time to make some changes.
We are in the habit of evaluating every event or program with something we call "4 Helpful Lists".
For example, after our upcoming student ministry winter retreat, I’ll gather my team and ask four important questions:
What was right?
What was wrong?
What was missing?
What was confusing?
We use a large white board and write out all the answers to these questions and the result is 4 Helpful Lists that help us determine how to make the event or program better or whether or not we should continue the event or program.
Sometimes we make immediate changes. Other times we put the list in a file for next year’s event.
In my experience, if you’re interested in pursuing excellence in your church or ministry, honest evaluation is crucial. Maybe choosing to evaluate in 2018 would be a great resolution for your church.
3. Put your People First
It turns out that pulling off church every week is hard work!
There is a lot that needs to happen to provide excellent ministry for each age group in your church.
The challenge is that the busier we get and the more focused on our tasks that we become, the more difficult it is to communicate value to people, especially our staff and volunteer teams.
Maybe a great resolution for 2018 is to put people first.
Let’s be real, if 2018 was a year in which your church staff and volunteers felt more valued, invested in and listened to, it would be a great year!
One of the best ways to value your people is to help them grow and develop in the ways that they want to grow and develop.
It’s one thing to say:
"We need you to be better at making spreadsheets so we’re sending you to a workshop on Excel."
I mean, sure, that’s personal development but it doesn’t feel very personal.
It’s an entirely different thing to say:
"Hey, what do you want to be doing in 5 years? How can I help you get there?"
The second questions is one of my favorite questions to ask as a leader.
Although, watch out because sometimes your people will say, “In five years, I’d like to have your job.”
Umm... I’d like to retract my question.
What would it look like to put your people first in 2018 and invest in their growth and development?
One great way is to ask them where they want to be in five years and be ready to take action to help them. As an employee or volunteer, it feels great to know that your leader cares about you as a person. People who feel valued and heard typically do great work. It’s a win-win.
4. Focus on your Greatest Gift
Maybe an important resolution for your church has less to do with your staff, strategy or practices and more to do with you personally, as a leader.
Maybe a great resolution for 2018 would be for you and me to focus on our greatest gift to our congregations.
And, by this, I don’t mean your greatest talent or skill.
I mean your faith. I mean, your relationship with God.
Our senior pastor constantly reminds us that the greatest gift that we bring to our congregation is not skills or abilities, no matter how strong they are, but rather it’s our consistent and growing walk with Jesus.
As church leaders, let’s not forget that discipleship is about multiplication. We are teaching people to do what we do and live like we live as we seek to follow Jesus.
If 2018 is a year in which we grow more like Jesus it will be a win—for us, for our families and for our churches. So, if we do nothing else in 2018, let’s prioritize pursuing God in our personal lives.
Well, there you go, 4 resolutions for 2018.
If one of our suggestions struck a chord with you, run with it. If not, spend some time thinking about resolutions for your church. We’d love to hear about them. Feel free to leave some ideas or suggestions in the comments below. Oh, and Happy New Year!