5 New Year Resolutions for Churches (and Pastors)

Many people talk about making New Year resolutions this time of year. They make their lists of things they want to start doing or stop doing. Their goal is to improve on the previous year, by making necessary changes and adjustments in their life.

But what about churches? How many churches make resolutions at the start of a new year? The truth is, churches need to make adjustments and changes at the start of this new year just like individuals do. There are things they need to start or stop doing.

If your church doesn’t make New Year resolutions, it should. Here are 5 New Year’s resolutions every church should consider.

1- Trust the Power of God’s Word More

I’m afraid us pastors tend to drift toward trusting in our ability to plan, cast vision, lead, communicate, and make tough decisions more than we trust the power of God’s Word. Don’t get me wrong, these other things are needed, but none of them come close to the importance of simply trusting in the life-changing power of God’s Word.

2- Do More to Help the Poor and Needy

I know there are a million reasons not to do this. However, I cannot get away from the command the Bible gives time and time again to help and minister to the poor and needy. Partner with an organization that specializes in this kind of ministry. Talk to others who are doing it. Come up with a plan. Start small if you need to, but do something.

3- Focus More on Discipleship

Most churches do not have a content problem; they have an application and obedience problem. What I mean is that most churches I know do a good job of presenting biblical information each week, but a poor job helping their people apply and live out the truths that have been taught. This is why discipleship is so important. I am convinced that discipleship is a key ingredient to having a biblical church.

4- Operate Intentionally

I know how easy it is do something because it has always been done. I also know how easy it is to get into a rut of doing the same thing over and over without giving thought to it. Operating intentionally means that we know what our God-given purpose is, we have a biblical plan for getting there, and then we make decisions each day that move our church in that direction. I wrote more about being an intentional church HERE.

5- Be More About People

Ministry requires programs and activities, I get that. But don’t get so focused on the programs that you fail to minister to the individual. Pastors, get out of the office and spend time with people. Focus less on building a church and more on building people and you will accomplish both. [Tweet “Focus less on building a church and more on building people and you will accomplish both.”]

What resolutions do you think churches need to have?

5 Ways to Become an Intentional Church

“Intentional” is probably my favorite word. I am pretty sure those in the church I pastor get tired of hearing it. But I am convinced it is the key to a biblical ministry. In fact, it is the key word in our ministry. It’s how we operate. It’s how we make decisions as a church. It is how we encourage our people to live.

So, what does it mean for a church to be intentional? What does it look like when a church operates intentionally?

Here are several points that are included in how I present this concept to our church family.

1- ‘Intentional’ means refusing to simply go through the motions.

You cannot be intentional as a church and simply do things because they have always been done. Following tradition for the sake of tradition will instantly kill intentionality. Likewise, thoughtlessly mimicking what other churches are doing will have the exact same effect.

You must think through everything and honestly know why you are doing what you are doing.

2- ‘Intentional’ means making hard decisions.

You cannot be intentional and approach decision-making seeking to validate what you have always thought or support what you have always done. Intentional means honestly examining all options regardless of preconceived ideas and preferences.

3- ‘Intentional’ means knowing, understanding, and operating according to your church’s God-given purpose.

You will never be intentional in how you operate as a church if you are not convinced of your purpose. It is your purpose that drives intentionality. Knowing it, understanding it, and talking about it but yet not making decisions based on it is pointless, but yet that is what so many churches do.

You cannot be intentional about letting your purpose drive what you do and at the same time make decisions with the goal of appeasing disgruntled church members or catering to a ‘influential’ group seeking to control the church. Accomplishing the purpose God has given the church must always be the priority.

4- ‘Intentional’ means constantly evaluating effectiveness.

I am not suggesting that we should operate completely pragmatically, but that we should view what we are doing, and how we are doing things, as a matter of stewardship. If there is a more effective way of accomplishing a goal, to fail to do so is unwise and would make us poor stewards of the time, energy, and resources God has given us.

Let’s face it, there are many things churches do, not because it is effective, but because it is comfortable. We must resist the tendency to operate in this way.

5- ‘Intentional’ means having correct priorities.

Having incorrect priorities will just make you intentionally distracted and, at times, wrong.