January, and the start of a new year with the promise of a fresh beginning with renewed purpose... and emails, articles and blogs overflowing with advice on setting new goals and resolutions....
But the success of these new year resolutions is doubtful. I know that, by about March each year, I struggle to even remember my carefully planned goals. Statistics indicate that 25% of resolutions are abandoned within one week, with another 60% within six months. Weight reduction is a common new year resolution but only 5% of those who determine to lose weight keep it off.
So, what about you? What will 2014 bring for you?
A suggestion for this year, instead of attempting ten or even five goals for the year, is to determine three words that encapsulate your focus for the year. Some suggestions might be: 'Consistently Encourage Others', 'Help Others More', 'Inform- Train- Delight'. Someone has humorously suggested, 'Dream Big ger'.
Use these words as a constant reminder of your focus but also as a launching point for action throughout the year. But don't just limit yourself to these words; take the time to think and pray as you claim a special Bible verse or passage for your new year.
Remind yourself frequently of your verse and your chosen theme words for the year. Write the words down. You are 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you take the time to clarify what you seek to accomplish by writing them down.
Display them prominently. Print them off and pop a copy in a photo-frame to display on your tabletop. Use the words as your computer screensaver. Find an online illustration of your chosen verse and use it as your iPad wallpaper.
In a similar way, we're identifying three words as our focus for our church: Rejoice- Refine- Relate. We'll be outlining more about this theme for the year and how it will impact our focus and our ministry over the next few weeks and, in greater detail, at our upcoming Vision Dinner.
But in case you've missed some of the great articles recently written about starting your year well, I've included some links below. Maybe a great focus for the year could be 'Read- Read- Read'. Enjoy...
Our sermon series, the Church, has been particularly helpful as we currently consider church leadership roles and our involvement in the ministries of our church family. During our upcoming church meeting next month, which I’d encourage you to attend, we will be considering our own church leadership and nominating church deacons.
So, rather than tackling this subject myself as a church leader, I've requested a guest post for this subject of church leadership … I encourage you to read the following article..
Pastors have a tough job. Most people are looking for their pastor to do all, be all, and solve all.
‘We want a pastor who preaches like Billy Graham, counsels like Dr Phil, budgets like Donald Trump, strategizes like General Patton, comforts like Mother Teresa and inspires like Winston Churchill.’
A pastor is expected to provide excellent leadership in 5 main areas:
1. Provide a vibrant vision for the church
2. Provide road maps and outline, in detail, the required steps to reach the desired vision.
3. Guarantee that all the needed skills and knowledge for ministry are available and current.
4. Keep the ministries ‘heart-healthy’ and encourage the troops to grow spiritually.
5. Provide muscle- lead, organise and execute all the tasks to ensure that progress is made.
The perfect pastor
It’s quite a job description. In fact, it’s not possible. It’s time to shatter the myth of the perfect pastor. In reality, a pastor is no Superman. They are human. They get discouraged; they don’t have all the answers or know what to do in every situation; they get tired and sometimes, need some down-time. Just like us, they struggle with the difficulty of balancing the needs of their personal family with those of the church family.
Certainly, one leader can't do it all. A pastor needs a team he can count on to assist him in ministry. He needs ministry-minded deacons who can support, encourage and help him by sharing the load in these important areas of leadership and pastoral responsibility.
How can you help and encourage your pastor and the church leadership team?
Having recognised the challenges of church leadership, there are many ways that each one of us can ease the burdens, encourage and support both your pastor and the church leadership team.
*Pray specifically and consistently. Send your pastor an encouraging email to let him know you’re praying.
*Serve. This is unbelievably encouraging. Give freely of your time, talents and spiritual gifts and be faithful to the ministry of the church so that the pastor can direct the affairs of the church.
*Give cheerfully and liberally.
*Speak well of your church and deflect any criticism of church leadership on their behalf. Refuse to listen to or spread gossip.
As our church considers church leadership and looks particularly at the important role of deacons, take a moment or two to reflect on ways that you, too, can encourage and support the church leadership and particularly, your pastor in encouraging and practical terms.
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the