Today is the day – the first day of a brand-new year. It is a day many people anticipate. Some view today as the best day for watching college football (I am one of those). Some view today as simply a day off from work. Others view today as a chance for a new beginning. Those who view New Year’s Day as a new beginning will make resolutions to stop or start something. Resolutions offered today will include such things as weight loss, increased family time, saving money, to name a few. Personally, I don’t make resolutions. I do however believe in making commitments based on an honest evaluation of the past. With my family at the top of this list, I would like to share with you the commitments I am making this year.
- I plan to read smarter, so I may write better. If you are at least an occasional reader of my blog, you know I enjoy reading and writing. The two are joined at the hip in my eyes. My plan this year is to focus and confine my reading to the areas of ministry and leadership. In 2018, I will choose quality over quantity. For me, this smarter reading will sharpen my focus and lead to more beneficial writing here.
- I plan to say “no” more often to what pulls me away from my pastoral duties. I tend to say “yes” too often. As a result, I have found myself stretched thin and overloaded. I have been the pastor of First Baptist Church of Perry for five months. It is a huge work. I am enjoying getting to know and spend time with our people. I have a long way to go. My church deserves and needs my attention. I believe God is going to do a great work among His people this year. He is giving me a vision for our church going forward. I/we cannot afford to be distracted.
- I plan to be more focused in my preaching and teaching. Having looked back at my preaching and teaching this past year, I realize that at times it was scattered. My prayer is for the Lord to make me increasingly aware of the needs of my congregation, as well as the struggles and issues plaguing our city, state, and nation and speak to them biblically and strategically. This will involve dedicated time away from my pastoral duties for sermon planning/writing. I cannot say how thankful I am that First Baptist Perry makes this time available to me.
- I plan to spend more time with my ministerial staff this year. I am privileged to lead the largest ministerial staff in all my years in the gospel ministry. I anticipate the addition of another staff member this year. My desire is to encourage and strengthen them in their areas of ministry. My desire is to move away from “I’m here if you need me” and move toward “Let’s do life and ministry together.”
- I plan to begin my book this year. For years I have I have flirted with the idea of a writing a book. Over the past three years I have completed two large bodies of work. The first, a verse-by-verse exposition of the book of Ephesians. This exposition was a requirement for my Doctor of Ministry degree. The second, a three-hour training conference outlining the principles of community ministry and engagement. I envision either of these works serving as the framework for my first book.
Why share these commitments publicly? Accountability. I hope throughout 2018 those who read my blog will ask me, “How are you doing in these areas?” What commitments have you made?