One more year.
Who knows what in the world to expect? I surely don't.
Resolutions? I've got a few. For myself and for my church. I've always found it helpful to state certain goals and also give somewhat of a plan to accomplishing them.
#1. Fan the sparks of a renewed prayer life. If you've followed this blog, you know what I am speaking of. I hope to further expand the "practice of the presence of Christ" in the coming year. This is by far my most ambitious resolution/goal.
How will I go about accomplishing this?
- Stay in God's Word. Read my Bible regularly and intentionally block out time in my work week for prayer and meditation. I hadn't been doing such a hot job of this before, but I believe it's extremely necessary for my own spiritual growth and for my continued effectiveness as a pastor.
- Study. Since buying a Kindle Fire, I have relished in many free downloads of Christian classics on prayer and spirituality. I've seen many inexpensive other classics, and I am licking my chops in anticipation.
- Make sure I have time set aside for solitude and silence each day. Riding my bike qualifies, and I have been in a very regular routine here. I hope to continue.
- I should seek out a spiritual director, but that's a little daunting prospect since they are few and far between out here in the country.
- Realize I can't do everything in my congregation. I've been trying too hard to do this, and it led to stress. Allowing myself to be limited toward the end of last year significantly reduced my stress level and let me focus more on being spiritually sharp instead of being run down trying to do it all.
#2. Continue working to transform my physique so that when I (hopefully) dress up as Captain America for Halloween, I actually look the part.
How will I accomplish this?
- Sticking to a lower carb, high protein diet. Slipped a bit during the holidays, but that's kind of expected. The good news is that I didn't gain any weight during these couple of weeks the kids have been out of school.
- Maintaining a cardio schedule with riding my bike. I hope to put in 18-25 miles per week.
- Weight training. Not extensive, mind you, but still enough to build muscle mass. I've focused on push ups for arms, core, and chest; squats for legs and calves; and bicep curls, well for the biceps. I won't turn into a body builder, but it does keep things toned up.
- Finally giving up drinking sodas. I hate this one.
I asked my congregation council to add money to my continuing education account this year so that I could begin learning. I was inspired by a Catholic priest up the road who plays piano and organ. It's something I'd like to explore. I've done a few things including downloading an app which helps me learn to read music. It's just putting the discipline in to do it.
Now, this next part is directly pertinent to my congregation. Other folks might like to tune out.
#4. Take some time to assess where we are as a church and where we sense God leading us.
How to accomplish this?
- I've already gotten approval to establish a long range planning committee. I've got a couple of folks who have agreed to serve. We will begin the process of praying, assessing, and involving as many folks in the congregation as we can in this process. I personally am not so interested in buildings and facilities--we're good to go there as far as I can tell, but I am interested in reaching out to our community, drawing in the unchurched, proclaiming the Gospel, spiritual growth, and what my particular role in helping the congregation achieve its mission will be.
- Asking the tough question about whether or not we are truly willing to take the steps it will require to move beyond a "pastoral" church to a "program" church. We are right on the cusp of this transition, and it's the hardest one to take as a church grows. It generally involves adding extra staff, having more volunteers take responsibility in things, and developing programs geared toward small groups, spiritual growth, and study. A pastor or person cannot force a church or people to do such things. Folks must come to the conclusion they wish to do such a thing on their own. Do folks in the church want to take on such a challenge?
- Hold this entire process in deep prayer.
I think those are some pretty heavy resolutions to handle for 2012. Of course, if the Mayan's were correct, it's all moot anyway. But I'll enjoy striving for these goals in the next year.