New Year’s Resolutions for Pastors
New Year’s resolutions are made (and broken) by many. Damian Lewis once said, “People need revelation, and then they need resolution.” Church leaders, now is a great time to pray that God will reveal to us what He wants for us in the New Year, and then we make our resolutions based on that.
Here are some possible resolutions pastors should consider for the upcoming year:
1. “I will take care of myself.”
Self-care is tough for church leaders because most pastors work themselves to the point of exhaustion. It’s important to create some margin in your schedule, remove some unnecessary distractions and plug in time to be rejuvenated. If you identify some warning signs of burn out, like struggling in your marriage, losing touch with your family or losing your cool, chances are you haven’t been taking care of yourself.
2. “I won’t take myself so seriously.”
Relax. Laugh at yourself. Be transparent. This simply means being honest and accessible with your family, your friends, your staff and your church. In spite of the expectation that you will have it all together and the feeling that your family lives in a glass house, it’s transforming to be somewhat vulnerable and humbly transparent. Don’t underestimate how much your staff and church appreciate a genuine and authentic leader.
3. “I will value people over performance.”
As a leader, it’s always tempting to get wrapped up in the craze of performance. By all means, we should strive to do everything with excellence and put forth our best effort, but the people who have been entrusted to your care need your love more than your accomplishment and success. Love on the people God has entrusted to your care. Ask them questions. Truly listen. Be the biggest cheerleader of your family, staff and volunteers. Invest time in potential leaders.
Note: This is not to say, however, that you should overlook it if a team member is consistently under-performing. If you’re dealing with a team member who is under-performing, read these resources:
- How to Graciously Fire a Church Staff Member
- How to Fire a Friend: Subtracting for Growth
- How to Spot Disengaged Employees
4. “I will listen to the Spirit.”
There are lots of competing voices in your ears and even in your face. For church leaders, the critics can be especially loud. The noise of the day can get loud. It can be hard to hear the still, small voice of God.
Spend more time feeding your soul. And sermon prep doesn’t count. Set apart uninterrupted time with God seeking his will for your life. This might mean less time on social media or watching the TV. Listen to a sermon or leadership podcast instead. Don’t allow the critics or the noise to define you or what you do. Let Jesus define your worth.
5. “I will focus on vision.”
The wisest man to ever live wrote, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). Leaders, it’s your responsibility to give vision to your staff and congregation. A simple, meaningful vision will define an optimal desired future state, a mental picture if you will, of what you want to achieve over time. It is life-giving to those around you. It gives direction to your staff. It feeds your mission. It brings action from your church.
6. “I will influence with my actions.”
Actions speak louder than words, and that is especially true in church leadership. Say what you mean, but more importantly, do what you say. You’ve heard of the ripple effect—the continuing and spreading results of an event or action. If you say one thing then do another, you will lose the respect of your staff and church, and even worse, some people may follow your lead. Kevin Garnett, who spent 21 years in the NBA, said this, “At the end of the day, you’re responsible for yourself and your actions, and that’s all you can control. So rather than be frustrated with what you can’t control, try to fix the things you can.”
Before we get into the New Year, take some time to get with your thoughts, get out your Bible and ask God to reveal what he would have you resolve. You can have a new attitude, a new commitment and a new plan.
What are your resolutions for the New Year? Let us know in the comments below.