11 New Year’s Resolutions For Church Leaders
By: Vanderbloemen December 31, 2015
We know it can be difficult for church leaders to even think about making a list of New Year’s resolutions when faced with an already lengthy list of tasks and projects that need to be done at the beginning of the year. As daunting as it may be, don’t disregard the process of actually writing down goals for the year ahead.
Having a physical goals list to reference easily can be helpful in many ways. It serves as a visual reminder and constant motivation if you post it on your bathroom mirror or refrigerator door. Even better than just a daily reminder is the ability to hold this list in your hands and pray through your goals for the year any time you are feeling discouraged.
Not sure where to start with creating your goals for the upcoming year? Here are our eleven favorite New Year’s resolutions for church leaders:
1. Every day, I will prioritize God first, others second, myself last.
In the book of Mark, chapter 12, a scribe asks Jesus, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” In verse 30, Jesus answers, “'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
This resolution, straight from the mouth of Jesus, is the simplest, most difficult, and most crucial to have on your list. If God is your absolute goal and priority, then your year will be a success regardless of which minor goals you did or did not accomplish.
2. I will commit to actively pursue spiritual growth.
As a church leader, you are often investing a huge amount of time and energy into helping others grow spiritually. Don’t forget that you also need investment for your own spiritual growth and wellbeing. Here are some practical ways you can make sure you are being poured into:
- Meet regularly with a small group, accountability partner, and/or mentor.
- Read through the Bible next year.
- Commit a certain allotment of time to praying every single day.
- Take off one day each month specifically to focus on spiritual renewal.
- Read 6 spiritual classics next year.
3. I will strive to maintain a healthy balance between home and work.
Due to the spiritual nature of working in ministry, church leaders often feel they are on the clock 24/7. Maintaining a healthy balance between your personal life and work life requires a very conscious effort. Start with simple, attainable goals.
- Sometimes, you need to say no. You do not need to be in every single committee meeting for every ministry. Time management is just as important as being productive.
- Trust your staff and volunteers with more responsibility. Delegate.
- At the beginning of the year, sit down with your family and choose dates for a vacation. Commit to these dates and do not reschedule.
- Choose one day per week that you will devote the entire evening to your family for dinner and time together.
- Choose one day off per week that you will not check email at all.
4. I will cultivate personal and work relationships.
It is much more difficult to stay on track without the love and support of others.
- Send one Thank You note every month.
- Take your spouse on a vacation, just the two of you.
- Connect with an old friend each month.
- Dedicate extra time to hospital/home visits.
- Commit to getting to know the staff members around you.
5. I will improve my physical health.
“Work out more.” This ever-popular goal appears on everyone’s New Year’s resolution list at some point (if not multiple points) in their life. As cliché as it seems, it is truly important to pay attention to your physical health. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to really feel close to God in prayer when you can’t keep your eyes open? It will be difficult to attain many of these goals when you don’t have enough energy. Rather than just “working out more,” try setting more specific health goals. While it will differ for every church leader, here are some examples:
- Get at least 7 hours of sleep 5 nights each week.
- Cut out sugar except for holidays and your birthday.
- Go to the gym 3 times per week.
- Train to run a half marathon with your spouse or coworker.
6. I will commit to the development of my professional skills.
Just as it is important to continually grow spiritually, it is also important to spend time learning and improving on a professional level.
- Sign up for one leadership continuing education class per quarter.
- Read one leadership book each month.
- Identify a leadership mistake you made this year and outline a strategy to avoid it next year.
- Connect with other ministry leaders.
- Attend one conference next year.
7. I will devote time to improving the health of my church.
It can sometimes be easy to lose sight of the big picture of the health of your church when you are involved in all of the daily processes of leading a church. Set goals that contribute to helping you keep sight of the vision of your church.
- Stop comparing. Your church is different than other churches. Celebrate the wins, big or small.
- Start a new ministry initiative.
- Become more mission-minded, both locally and internationally.
- Help recruit more volunteers.
- Choose one ministry that is struggling and help them accomplish goals for growth and health.
8. I will invest in my team.
The success of the resolution listed above is fully dependent on the health of your staff. If you do not have the support of a team to help accomplish your goals for the church, you will likely fail (or have an extremely difficult time attaining the goal).
- Be more intentional about encouraging your staff.
- Disciple one of your team members into a promotion.
- Schedule time for regular reviews of staff members.
- Invest in the gifts of your team members (e.g. budget for training or conferences, read a book as a team, learn the ways they’d like to improve and help them achieve their own goal, etc.).
9. I will spend time on my personal development.
With all of the learning, growing, and changing you’re planning for the new year, don’t forget about yourself outside of work and family. As easy as it is to wrap up your identity in these things, keep in mind that you have a unique identity in Christ. Take time to rest and restore your mind and soul.
- Read 6 literary classics next year.
- Learn a skill you’ve always been curious about. This could be anything from building furniture to watercolor painting to flying a plane… get creative!
- Devote time each week to a hobby you thoroughly enjoy.
- Go on an adventure. You can find adventure in your own city or in the Grand Canyon, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Or first - if you don’t already have a Travel Bucket List - make one!
10. I will get organized.
It can be difficult for your goals to remain attainable when things get messy. Let’s be honest, life will always get messy at some point. Make this goal something you come back to in those times of messiness to help you regain focus.
- Download a task-keeping app and use it.
- Create a system for managing finances.
- Leave work every day with a clean desk.
Of course, these are all only suggestions. Only you know the best specific goals to set for yourself, as well as the number of goals that are attainable. Maybe it’s 20, or maybe it’s 5. You are automatically set up for failure when you set way too many goals for one year. However, I will say that there is one goal that should be a requirement on your list…
11. I will keep my New Year’s resolutions!
This is the most important goal to make. Staying strong and consistent with your goals is an important part of starting a new year.
What are some of your favorite New Year’s goals?
If you liked this, you'll also enjoy How Church Leaders Can Get Healthy For The New Year.