The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for examining the past and resolving to make improvements in the coming year. Being involved in the ministry full time, I find that my evaluation of the previous year always finds me lacking. There is always more that I could have done, opportunities that I did not take, people to whom I did not serve. My assignment on staff at King’s Grant has three main areas: small groups, assimilation and leadership development. With the worthiest of intentions, I resolve to do this better in 2010:
I will be more of an equipper and less of a doer. Ephesians 4:11-12 says that the purpose of leaders in the church is to equip the people to do the ministry of the church–not for the leaders to be the ministers themselves. So I will seek to spend more time consciously empowering others in ministry. My first chance in 2010 is a meeting on January 3 with my Sunday School Director, Adult Department Director and Outreach Director to go over a proposed strategy for outreach, guest assimilation and member involvement in the church.
I will stop treating Christian service as optional. Jesus called his followers to complete life change, which is total spiritual transformation. In fact, he went out of his way to make sure people understood how much he demanded of them before they became his followers. Jesus made it clear that he expected people to be actively serving him. I like what Paul wrote in Romans 12:1, 2 and Ephesians 2:10. We are created to be different and to do good works. My Bible study beginning on Wednesday January 6 is on the sermon on the mount, which is probably the best “Jesus Manifesto” on what the Master wanted His followers to be and to do. For Christ-followers and church members, giving time to serve in ministry is not optional.
I will be an encourager. In a world full of negative attitudes and criticism, I will demonstrate Christ’s love by celebrating the accomplishments of others. I will give personal, meaningful affirmation. If someone fails to show up, my first reaction won’t be frustration that he or she let me down; it will be concern that something might be wrong. I will take more pleasure from their successes than my own. I will seek ways to publicly praise them. My goal will be to be an example of Barnabas, the one who was called the “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36, 9:27).
I will challenge people to serve with boldness. Rather than fill slots with people, I will boldly invite them to contribute their time, energy and efforts to the most significant cause in the universe. In John 6, Jesus called people to radical commitment and many turned back and no longer followed him. He then turned to the disciples and asked if they too will be leaving. I love Peter’s answer, “To whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). If Jesus’ focus was on the level of commitment people were willing to make, rather than the number of people who followed, then I will not be shy in asking people to give more of themselves.
I will devote resources to developing leaders. Equipping people for ministry is more than just giving encouragement. I will give people constructive feedback. I will pay their way to appropriate training events. I will purchase the tools needed for them to flourish. God has blessed this church financially, and we can find the appropriate seminars and training that people need to be successful in their service.
I will forgive myself for last year. Because I take ministry so seriously, it is easy to pile on guilt for the things I have failed to do or did wrong. But God chose to do this ministry through me, knowing that I’m a broken vessel. I will spend time now consciously determining what I need to learn from my mistakes, and then I will join God in casting them into the Sea of Forgetfulness.
I will remember the one thing. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus reminded Martha that while all her attempts to serve him were good, the one thing most important was developing a growing relationship with Jesus. I will remember that ultimately it is not about my ministry or my church. It is about me and all those around me developing a growing relationship with Jesus. With the Bible in 90 Days Challenge, I hope that I meet with God through the pages of His Word, more than accomplishing a goal of finishing the Bible in three months.
And perhaps I should add one more: I will keep these resolutions longer than the ones about dieting and exercise.