This past year has flown by and know we prepare to move into a new year.
New Year's is a time to pause and reflect on last year while making resolutions for the coming year.
The coming year offers great opportunities to grow, expand and deepen your life and ministry.
If you are in children's ministry, many of your resolutions will be tied to that.
So what should those resolutions be? What should you focus on this coming year? What resolutions offer the most promise of a fruitful year, both personally and in the ministry you are leading?
Let's look at 10 resolutions you can make as a children's ministry leader that will propel both you and the ministry forward.
Resolution 1: I will spend time with Jesus each day. This will give you the foundation you need to accomplish the following nine resolutions. As we spend time with Jesus, our personal walk with Him will grow. Look at this verse in Mark 3:14 (NIV): ""He appointed twelve, that they might be with him and that He might send them out to preach."
Notice what the first priority is. It's to be with Jesus. And out of that relationship, you will be able to keep your other resolutions.
It is very easy to get so busy in ministry that you end up working for Jesus without spending time with Jesus.
Schedule a time each day to be with Jesus. Find a place where you will go to spend time with Him. Have a plan you will use to spend time with Him.
When you do this, look what will happen in 2019 for you and your ministry. "But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you" (Matt. 6:6, NLT).
As you spend time with Jesus behind the scenes, He will bless your ministry publicly.
Resolution 2: I will put my family ahead of the ministry. What will it profit you if you reach the entire world, but lose your own family? If you are not intentional with your time, ministry can take over your life and push your family to the sidelines.
Take your day off and spend it with your family.
Use your vacation time and give your family your undivided attention while on vacation.
Your children will grow up way too fast. Yes, as a parent, the days seem long when raising kids, especially during the preschool and teenage years. But the years are few. Make them count. You won't be able to get them back.
Resolution 3: I will guard my heart. This year, don't let bitterness, anger or jealousy hijack your heart. Yes, there will be times when you will be mistreated. You will have people question your motives. You will have people you poured your life into, who will leave and go to another church.
Guard your heart. Keep your heart positive. Let forgiveness fill your heart. Keep your eyes on the unique path God has given you to walk. Weed out any roots of bitterness that are trying to take over your heart.
Resolution 4: I will focus on being an equipper more than being a doer. As a children's ministry leader, you are called to equip people for the work of the ministry. This is made clear in Ephesians 4:12. Never do ministry alone. Have someone with you that you are mentoring. Equip people and release them to carry the ministry.
You are called to share the ministry rather than carrying the ministry.
This year can't be about you doing the ministry. It needs to be about you equipping others to do the work of the ministry.
Resolution 5: I will take care of myself physically and mentally. Don't let ministry take away your physical and mental health. Schedule time to exercise and then stick with it. Don't be the person who hits the gym in January and then quits after a month. Make it a regular part of your schedule ... not for a month, but for the entire year.
Manage your stress level this year. Know when you are running on fumes and take time to rest. Get some hobbies, activities or outlets that will take your mind off your ministry work for a while.
Have a Sabbath day each week where you focus on building up your physical and emotional health.
Resolution 6: I will be intentional about growing myself in ministry skills. Be a learner this year. Go to a conference. Read books (you can get my books at this link). Listen to podcasts. Connect with other children's ministry leaders and learn from them.
Get a ministry coach. I can help you with this. I have a coaching program that dozens of leaders have gone through. You can get more info. about the coaching opportunity at this link. As you grow yourself, you will see your ministry grow.
Resolution 7: I will be kind and considerate of others. How will you treat people this year? Will you show empathy? Will you believe in people and show you value them? Will you put others ahead of yourself? Will you invest in people—and expect nothing in return?
This year, focus nor just on what you do, but how you do it. Be the person who refreshes and encourages others.
Resolution 8: I will reach out to kids and families who don't know Jesus. Burst out of the holy huddle this year and embrace the messiness of ministry. That's what Jesus did. He was right in the middle of the people who needed Him.
This year, get outside the four walls of your church and into the marketplace, so you can share the gospel with kids and families who need Jesus. Work to see more kids and families meet Jesus than any previous year. Work to see more kids and families follow Jesus in baptism.
At the end of the year, that's what will matter: how many kids and families were reached by your ministry.
Resolution 9: I will connect with other children's ministry leaders. You are not alone. There are thousands of other children's ministry leaders who are serving. Remember when Elijah was complaining about being the only one doing the work of God? God responded by showing him that there were 7,000 other leaders. He was not alone. And you don't have to be alone either.
Reach out and connect with other children's ministry leaders in your area. Start a network. Get together for lunch once a month. Make connections with leaders outside of your area through social media and other online options like Skype.
Show me your ministry friends, and I will show you where you'll be a year from now.
Resolution 10: I will resolve conflict in a biblical manner. Ask children's ministry leaders about areas they want to grow in, and a large percentage will say "managing conflict." Very few people enjoy conflict. We are not good at it. It makes us nervous. It makes us emotional. It takes courage.
The good news is conflict management is something that can be learned and mastered. You can go into it confident and ready.
If you are like the majority of other people and don't like conflict, here are some books you can read this year that will help you be an expert at navigating conflict:
So there you go. Ten important resolutions for the new year as a children's ministry leader. Your turn to share. What are some other resolutions you are going to pursue in the new year? What other ideas or suggestions do you have as we enter the new year? Share your thoughts and insight in the comment section below.
Dale Hudson has been in children's ministry for over 27 years. He is the director of children's ministry at Christ Fellowship Church in South Florida. Christ Fellowship has nine campuses and ministers to over 25,000 people on weekends. Dale leads a children's ministry staff team of over 70 and a volunteer team of over 2,600. He has authored 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Children's Ministry, 100 Best Ideas to Turbocharge Your Preschool Ministry, Children's Ministry in the 21st Century, Sunday School That Works, the churchleaders.com Top 100 book, and If Disney Ran Your Children's Ministry. You can find more of his helpful resources at relevantchildrensministry.com or buildingchildrensministry.com.
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