by Brian Proffit
The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time for examining the past and resolving to make improvements in the coming year. Here's what I resolve to do in 2010:
I will be more of an equipper and less of a doer. Ephesians 4:11-12 says that the purpose of leaders in the church is to equip the people to do the ministry of the church--not for the leaders to be the ministers themselves. So I will spend more time consciously empowering others in ministry. I will make it clear to my staff that I won't measure their performance by how much they do, but how many they equip.
I will stop treating Christian service as optional. Jesus called his followers to complete life changes. In fact, he went out of his way to make sure people understood how much he demanded before they became his followers. Jesus made it clear that he expected people to be actively serving him. For Christ-followers, giving time to ministry is not optional.
I will be a cheerleader. In a world full of negative attitudes and criticism, I will demonstrate Christ's love by celebrating the accomplishments of others. I will give personal, meaningful affirmation. If someone fails to show up, my first reaction won't be anger that he or she let me down; it will be concern that something might be wrong. I will take more pleasure from their successes than my own. I will praise them publicly.
I will call people boldly. Rather than recruiting people timidly, hoping not to offend them, I will boldly invite them to contribute their time to the most significant cause in the universe. In John 6, Jesus called people to such radical commitment that many turned back and no longer followed him. If Jesus' focus was on the level of commitment people were willing to make, rather than the number of people who followed, then I will not be shy in asking people to give more of themselves.
I will devote resources to developing others. Equipping people for ministry is more than just giving encouragement. I will give them constructive feedback. I will pay their way to appropriate training events. I will purchase the tools needed for them to flourish.
I will forgive myself for last year. Because we take our ministry so seriously, it is easy to pile on guilt for the things we failed to do or did wrong. But God chose to do this ministry through me, knowing that I'm a broken vessel. I will spend time now consciously determining what I need to learn from my mistakes, and then I will join God in casting them into the Sea of Forgetfulness.
I will remember the one thing. In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus reminded Martha that while all her attempts to serve him were good, the one thing most important was developing a growing relationship with Jesus. I will remember that ultimately it is not about my ministry or my church. It is about me and all those around me developing a growing relationship with Jesus.
And perhaps I should add one more: I will keep these resolutions longer than the one about dieting and exercise.