New Year’s Resolutions or No?
Greetings ministry partners, we have been blessed to enter into another year. Over time, it became popular for people to come up with New Year’s resolutions. Those who make resolutions generally seek to make important changes in life. And although I don’t make them myself, I’m certain that many have found – and will continue to find – success with making New Year’s resolutions. My objection is not the practice of designing change (resolving to be different) at at the beginning of the year. My objection is simply word choice. Instead of resolutions, I prefer to make New Year’s plans.
I like to identify big goals and plot out the attendant milestones along the way for the upcoming year. This type of thinking was reinforced in my work as an innovation coach for Ministry Incubators. I particularly was moved by the idea of “balcony time” and planning my calendar. This enabled me to become more effective in ministry.
As a pastoral leader, a ministry head or a missional innovator, we need solid plans and goals to execute on the vision that God placed into our hearts. It seems, however, that the constant grind and the routine challenges of leadership like creating and monitoring budgets, recruiting and managing volunteers, and attending to your congregation can lead even the most faithful person to moments of apathy and despair. Add to that the yearning to be more impactful within the church and in the community, but how can anyone offer a meaningful response when the workers are low and the resources so few? One might rightfully ask the question, “Why do I even try?
Operating In God’s Grace
Absent a more detailed understanding of a reader’s individual situation, I could not possibly endeavor to answer that very realistic (hypothetical) question. As a matter of fact, a quote from the book Innovating for Love by Kenda Creasy Dean:
“Anyone who has ever launched a new idea, especially a ‘passion project,’ knows the risk of burnout that comes with it. Only God ignites the bush that burns but is not consumed—which means that faithful innovators have a resource often overlooked in other sectors: grace… Innovating for love means chasing God’s vision for creation rather than our own” (Innovating for Love, p.11).
This quote sums up what I have found to be the anchor for me in times of challenge and difficulty: being in alignment with God’s plan unlocks unlimited potential. This quote also reminds me of Matthew 6:33 (NKJV), “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” – When working for God, and in God, all things shall be added.
Changed Mind, Changed Life
Over the years I learned that in obedience to God’s plan, I could take charge of my life by shifting my paradigm (like from New Year’s resolutions to New Year’s planning). This turned out to be as simple as changing my mind. That realization has made a world of difference. May God’s blessings and favor follow you throughout your 2023!