Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Every Pastor

It’s that time of year when people partake in the annual ritual of making well-intended promises that end up broken by February. I also realize the presumptuous nature of this post—as if I could tell you what promises to make (and then inevitably break). However, I do believe every pastor should consider these ten resolutions. Perhaps they will get you thinking.

1. I will pray for church members daily. Start by praying for your most outspoken antagonists. One of the best resolutions you can make is to pray more.

2. I will share my faith at least once a week. Most church leaders bemoan the lack of evangelism in North America. Our churches would grow if we expended the same amount of energy sharing Jesus as we do complaining about church members not sharing Jesus.

3. I will read my Bible devotionally. If you preach regularly, you’re likely reading your Bible often. But too many pastors neglect the devotional reading of Scripture. Then we wonder why our sermons are dry.

4. I will listen more to my congregation. So much is said about leadership vision and the compelling effect it has on followers. Unfortunately, far too little effort goes into listening to people. Grand vision flops when it lacks the foundation of listening. You can’t lead people without listening to them.

5. I will have an attitude of gratefulness. Let’s rid ourselves of a sense of entitlement and be grateful God provides people for us to shepherd.

6. I will practice forgiveness. Practice makes perfect, and most of us have a long way to go before glorification. Forgiveness is one of the most under-practiced spiritual disciplines.

7. I will be the chief encourager in my church. Pastors can look to the church for self-worth—feeding off the saint’s encouragement. I hope your church encourages you, but it’s the role of the pastor to lead with this spiritual gift and not feed off it. The more you lead with encouragement, the more likely your church will have a culture of encouragement.

8. I will be an example of discipline. Exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Spend the proper amount of time with your family. Read books. Keep a schedule and manage your time. Get enough sleep. Don’t dress like a slob. Your visible demonstration of discipline will speak volumes without you saying a word.

9. I will laugh more. Many of us pastors take ourselves too seriously, and our leadership could utilize more levity. Laughter disarms, and leaders who laugh tend to be more enjoyable people.

10. I will take injustice seriously. We need more sermons on justice, not less. We need more churches serving the underprivileged. We need more pastors who fight for justice.

Start the new year with a resolve to be a better pastor. The bride of Christ deserves your effort.

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