As I write this, I am looking at the calendar. December 27th. Only a few days left until we begin a new year.
A lot of great things took place in this past year. Pause for a few minutes and look back. Think about the victories that God gave you. Meditate on the blessings He poured out for you. The times He walked with you through trouble and turmoil. He was there in 2018. Even during the times when you felt alone...you were not alone. When you saw great things happen in your ministry...He was there. When you were struggling with the ministry...He was there.
And He will be with you in 2019. In fact, as I type this, I am praying that 2019 will be your best year ever in children's ministry. You're going to see more fruit. You're going to see more kids and parents become followers of Christ. You're going to see your attendance grow as you engage more and more kids and families. You're going to grow your own faith deeper and your relationship with Jesus is going to become closer than ever.
As you prepare to walk in the blessings of God in 2019, let's look at some key things you can do to make 2019 your best year ever.
Walk with Jesus. This is the starting point and where success in ministry comes from. Notice what this verse says in Mark 3:14.
And He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach.
Notice what the first calling of the disciples was - "that they might be with Him." And then they would go out and share the Gospel.
Your first calling...my first calling...is to walk with Jesus. Out of that relationship will come the power you need to see people's lives changed.
The temptation is to get so busy working for Jesus that we begin to neglect spending time with Jesus. But we must remember that nothing of eternal value happens without prayer. Let 2019 be the year that you begin to walk with Jesus at a deeper level. And out of that foundation will come your best year of ministry.
Yield Yourself to the Holy Spirit and rely upon Him. 2019 will be a great year not because of your talents, gifting, charisma or work ethic. It will be a great year as a result of the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon your life.
We are reminded of this in Zechariah 4:6. It says "not by might nor by power but by My Spirit says the Lord."
2019 can be your best year ever, if you'll do this. Walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Each morning when you get up, stop and ask the Holy Spirit for His blessings upon your day. Tell Him you need His power. Tell Him you can't accomplish anything unless He steps in.
Every time you are speaking this year, ask the Holy Spirit to place His hand of power upon your life.
As you plan your ministry calendar, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. His power is available, if you'll ask for it in 2019.
Build your volunteer team. Success in 2019 will not come from what you can do. It will come from what you can empower others to do. The effectiveness of your ministry in 2019 will rise and fall on the strength of the volunteer you build. Make enlisting, equipping and empowering your top priority. It should dominate your calendar.
You can get a proven formula for building a volunteer team in my book - The Formula for Building Great Volunteer Teams. It's available at this link.
Evaluate and make adjustments. There are some things you should stop doing in 2019. And there are some things you should amp up this coming year. How will you find out what they are? Evaluation. Take a hard look at everything you are doing. What is not working anymore and should be dropped? What needs tweaking to make it more effective? What should be replaced with something new and fresh? What is working well and should be given more time and attention to?
If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll get the same results. You'll stay where you are right now. You won't make any progress.
Perhaps, just perhaps, 2019 is the year to make the changes needed to help your ministry go to the next level. Change is not always easy, is it? But it's worth it. This is the year to make the adjustments you've been thinking about.
Focus on being productive rather than just being busy. It's easy to be busy in children's ministry, isn't it? There is so much to do. Get lessons ready. Plan events. Pull off events. Follow up with guests. Enlist and equip new volunteers. Camp. VBS. Parent and child dedication. On and on we could go.
Busyness is not something you should measure. Productivity is what should be measured. A jam-packed calendar is not a sign of success. Seeing kids and families lives being impacted is what you should strive for instead.
This coming year, think about erasing some of the things on your calendar. Only leave what you think will make a big impact. Measure and focus on things like guests, volunteer retention, baptisms, dedications, attendance, success of events, etc.
Be accountable. My heart has been grieving as of late as I have watched leaders that I admired and learned from, fall out of ministry due to immorality, burn out, financial greed and other temptations.
If you want to be successful in ministry, then here's a big, groundbreaking strategy. Ready for it? It's... to stay in ministry. Wasn't that profound? It's simple but true. Success in ministry is measured by faithfulness. It is applauded by "well done, good and faithful servant."
How will you stay in ministry? A big one is to have people that hold you accountable. People who can help you identify your blind spots and overcome them. People who can both encourage you and call you up as a leader.
If you don't have those people in your life, one of your top priorities right off the bat should be to enlist 2-3 people who will hold you accountable.
Paul sums it up in 2 Timothy 4:7-8 when he says, "I have fought a good fight. I have finished the work I was to do. I have kept the faith. There is a crown which comes from being right with God."
Fight a good fight in the coming year. Finish the tasks God has for you in the coming year. Keep your heart close to the heart of God in the coming year.
Listen and learn more than you talk. Listening is a key part of growing as a leader. If you stop listening and stop learning, you will stop growing as a leader.
There is something you can learn from everyone if you'll search for it.
Don't be a know-it-all this coming year. Instead, be a learn-from-others person this coming year.
As you learn and grow, you will see growth in your ministry.
Rick Warren said he focused on growing himself first. As he grew, his church grew.
It's a great principle. Focus this coming year on growing yourself first and foremost. Out of that will flow the growth of your ministry, volunteers, children and families.
I'm praying with you that this coming year will be your best year ever. Can't wait to see how God is going to bless so many of you with an incredible year of ministry.
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