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 change old habits or start afresh. I don’t make resolutions. However, I 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 my commitments 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. My plan this year is to focus and confine my reading to the areas of ministry and leadership. In 2022, I will choose quality over quantity. This smarter reading will sharpen my focus and contribute to more beneficial writing here.
I plan to say “no” 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 almost four and half years. It is a great deal of work. The church I pastor deserves and needs my attention. Great things are ahead for the people of First Baptist in 2022. I cannot afford to be distracted.
I plan to be more focused on 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 focus will involve dedicated time away from my pastoral duties for sermon planning, vision development, and long-range planning. I cannot say how thankful I am that First Baptist Perry allows me two weeks a year for this study leave.
I plan to spend more time with my pastoral staff this year. Today is the first New Year’s Day since my arrival at First Baptist in 2017 that we are not searching for a staff member. I am privileged to lead the largest pastoral team in my 23 years of gospel ministry. I desire to encourage and strengthen them in their areas of ministry, moving away from “I’m here if you need me” and toward “Let’s do ministry together.”
I plan to begin my book this year. For years, I have flirted with the idea of writing a book. Over the past five years, I have completed two large bodies of work. The first is a verse-by-verse exposition of the book of Ephesians, a requirement for my Doctor of Ministry degree. The second is a three-hour training conference outlining the principles of community ministry and engagement. Either of these could serve as the framework for my first book.
Why share these commitments publicly? Accountability. I hope throughout 2022, those who read my blog will ask me, “How are you doing in these areas?” What commitments have you made?