27 Dec 2018

3 Checklists for Pastors to Make 2019 the Best Year

Angie Joya

If 2018 was anything for you like it was for me, you’re still wondering how we got to the end of December. Weren’t we just celebrating Easter? Planning our summer session small groups? Thanksgiving seems like it was five minutes ago! No matter how many times I check, Christmas has come and gone. We find ourselves not only on the cusp of the new year, but also on the precipice of all the blessings to come in 2019. Psalm 107:1 reminds us to “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”

During the hustle and bustle of the year's end, take a moment to consider simplifying your church or ministry. If you’re not sure where to start, make a list. 

Below are three lists to provide some positive perspective on your church and prepare for the year to come. 

List 1: The “stop doing” list

In January, we tend to forget that the whole year is a marathon, not a sprint. In the excitement and eagerness to start, many churches add more programs to their calendar. It seems the answer to each new need in the church is a new program. 

Over time, though, too many programs can become burdensome. Staff and volunteers may feel stretched to their capacity. This is where the “stop doing” list is a big help. 

A powerful moment happens in a church or ministry when leadership sits down, makes a list of everything they're doing, and then reviews this list with two questions in mind: 

    • What are we doing that is no longer producing life for the church?
    • What are we doing that is only being done because we don't know how to stop it?

Applying these two questions can be a great relief! Removing deadweight leaves space for the new things God is wanting us to focus on. 

List 2:  The “refocus” list

Every leader encounters mission drift. Even if you have one clear vision for your church, the day-to-day operations can cause you to drift. 

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is not that you are doing bad things; it is that you have drifted from the main thing God has placed in your heart. 

Mission drift happens to the finest of leaders. And now is the best time to rediscover your true north by allowing God to recalibrate you. Let Him remind you of who you are and what He has called you to do. 

Think about the time you started your ministry. What was the driving passion that compelled you to start? The “refocus” list has the power to put you back on track. It helps you to balance your driving passions and your ability to facilitate that passion. A few questions to help you narrow your vision are:

  • What is the most important task in my ministry?
  • Which programs and activities cause the church to drift from its mission?
  • How do my policies and procedures reflect what is most important?

List 3:  The “celebrate” list

Too many leaders work, work, work, and rarely celebrate the victories. How often do you celebrate your achievements? 

Perhaps you feel that your ministry has only had a few victories this year? That's okay! 

Ask yourself: Did you celebrate them? Did you honor God for what He is doing in your midst?  Did you take time to show those on your team the wins they accomplished? 

If not, then take the time to celebrate! Celebration is essential in the life of any church or ministry. It keeps ministry fun and allows you to enjoy the journey by honoring those who have been laboring with you. 

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A few ideas for your “celebrate” list include:

  • Take some time to write down a list of people and achievements that you need to celebrate.
  • Plan a day and a time to celebrate those victories. Take a moment and publicly honor those who have been faithful in laboring with you toward the vision.
  • Send them a letter of appreciation. You'll be glad you did!

A time of reflection

It's important to acknowledge and celebrate that you made it to the end of the year. On average, more than 500 churches and ministries close their doors annually. But here you are you’ve made it! 

If 2018 didn’t go as you initially planned, take a moment to thank God for the blessings you've received. Get ready to move forward into all the wonderful things to come in the new year. 

At StartCHURCH, we hope that the end of 2018 leaves you feeling grateful, encouraged, and blessed, knowing that we are in your corner for the new year.

Please feel free to comment. We always appreciate good dialogue. However, we do moderate each comment to ensure that it is on topic and not derogatory to other participants. We ask that you keep your comments brief and pertinent to the topic so that others may benefit.

Raul Rivera

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