My husband has made several ambitious New Year’s resolutions this year. True to form, the 1st day of January turned over a new leaf for him and he has embarked on aggressively accomplishing his goals. As we sat on the couch enjoying the warmth of the fireplace in our living room, he asked me, “What resolutions do you have for this year?”
My response? I said with a chuckle, “I don’t really believe in resolutions. So, I don’t have any.”
There’s something about New Year’s resolutions that implies the slate is wiped clean. You can have a complete “do-over” and make broad sweeping, radical changes in lifestyle or goals. I’m all for goal setting, but not necessarily in the context of erasing the past or abruptly shifting gears to a completely different pace. Rather, I enjoy the progression of change.
Change is a journey. Change typically requires us to overcome some type of obstacle to attain a goal. The process of overcoming usually involves a progression of successes and failures to reach forward toward the prize.
When it comes to leading others in ministry, rather than sweeping resolutions, January is a strategic time of year to do three things to help move you forward.
There’s a wise adage from George Santayana that says, “Those who do not remember their past are condemned to repeat their mistakes.”
How are things going since your big fall kick off? January is the mid-point of the school calendar and a great time to reflect on your effectiveness. Are kids engaged in what you are doing? Do leaders feel connected to a group of kids or are they babysitting a different set of children each week? What can you do to calibrate your systems so that you finish this academic year strong?
Don’t wait until the summer to dream about the future. Summer is the most hectic time of year for anyone in children’s ministry. January is the best time of year to create some space and dream about what you want the upcoming year to look like. One of our biggest challenges in our over connected, hyper stimulated, fast paced lives is finding a quiet space to dream and be innovative. Use the slower time of year now to dream about what the future can and should look like.
Break down your vision into bite size goals for each month. What can you do now that will set you up for greater success in September? Do you need a plan for your summer serve opportunities? What about auditions for your youth praise team? When do you need to communicate your plan for the upcoming year to have the best response?
When it comes to working with youth in praise and worship teams, you really have the first four months of the year to get the word out about your plans for the fall. After April, parents (and kids) will be day dreaming about they family vacation to the beach—not necessarily about what needs to happen for your fall launch. Before you know it, you’ve lost your platform to vision cast for the next year.
Start now and you won’t have to play catch up this year when it comes to planning for the fall.
Joy is part of the special-ops team for 252 Basics. It’s a highly classified group that consults with Orange partner churches. Formerly a spy based somewhere in Santa Barbara, California, Joy felt that getting a BA in Psychology from U.C. Santa Barbara would be a better career path than spy. Since 2000 she’s put her special training to work in a variety of volunteer and staff roles. Before joining the Orange team, Joy was a part of the children’s ministry staff at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship and Irving Bible Church. If you really want to see Joy light up, talk to her about children’s worship. She now lives in Texas with her husband and two boys. This post was first published on January 3, 2012, and is used by permission.