I love New Years. Its an annual opportunity to hit the reset button, to explore who we could be, to dream about a better future. I know the statistics about how few resolutions we actually keep, but I don’t care; leaves die every winter, but spring still brings hope. So every year around this time I make a new list.
What if you made New Year’s Resolutions for your church? What could you change in 2014 that would make a significant impact for the Kingdom and the future health of your church? I’ve put together a list of five (based on five of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions) to get you started.
Your church is probably carrying a little extra weight; programs and ministries that really don’t make a difference and just take up time and space. There are a few volunteers that hang on year after year, but the group is really a drag on resources that could be better invested elsewhere. Its time to cut back.
Weight loss is always challenging. It takes discipline and determination, but it is always worth the sacrifice. How much healthier will your church be if you endure the short term pain of trimming dead weight for the long term gain of freed up resources?
>>Learn something new
How long has it been since your church has truly learned something new? Maybe its a completely new process of assimilation, a new order of service or a completely new model of youth ministry. This is the chance to shake things up, try something completely out of the box.
Most churches seldom try anything truly new for fear of upsetting the saints. Trying new things always disturbs the comfortable. But new life requires new thinking, so this is the year to launch a brand new initiative and see what happens. If you’re not learning you are dying.
>>Get out of debt
This is really boring but incredibly powerful. What if you focused 2014 on paying down a huge chunk of debt? Think of the increased ministry opportunities for the money no longer committed to debt service. I know new buildings, campuses and staff are more sexy, but reduced debt opens up the future exponentially. If you really want to invest in the next generation you’ll pay off our generation’s debt.
When Peter decided he knew better than Jesus how the future should play out Jesus left no room for doubt in his rebuke, “Get behind me Satan.” Peter’s intent might be good, but the outcome of his attitude would be devastating. Jesus was willing to sacrifice Peter’s feelings for the health of the mission.
Who are the toxic people in your church? The staff member, volunteer or elder who leaves a trail of destruction everywhere they go? How will the culture of your church improve if you stop them from dropping another verbal bomb or perpetuating another rumor? There’s nothing harder than quitting smoking, and nothing better for your health. Maybe you should stop reading blogs and make that phone call.
>>Travel to new places
Is time to open a new campus or plant a new church? All living things reproduce, but 95% of churches never start a new faith community. If more churches don’t wake up to the need for new congregations Christianity will continue to fade in America. There are at least 100 ways your church can travel to a new place this year. If you think you’re too small, too poor or too old to start something new let me know. I know we can find an amazing adventure for your church. Don’t just sit there in 2014, go somewhere new.
There are five ideas to get the juices flowing. I’d love to hear your New Year’s Resolutions for your church.
Read more from Geoff here.