Whether you love making New Year’s resolutions or despise them, we can probably all agree that the beginning of the year is a good time to evaluate where you’ve been and where you’re going, and not just personally, but professionally as well. The start of the year signifies a fresh start to the way we live. I’m not a huge fan of resolutions, but I do see the importance of evaluating, even though it kind of scares me. So, this year, I want to evaluate where I’ve been and where I hope to go, and not just set end-goal resolutions like, lose weight, make more money, and be smarter, but rather set processes in place to help me get to my desired destination. So, here are 3 new things I want to do this year that will help me get to where I want to go:
- Say “NO” to the things that don’t matter as much. As Andy Stanley says (actually I don’t know who said it, but I always default to him when in doubt), “Say no to the good thing in order to say yes to the better.” I also don’t know if that’s the exact quote, but it’s something like that. I don’t know about you, but I feel busy most of the time. And busy is not always good. All I need to do is sit down and look at my calendar for the month and see that there are just too many things going on. And the reason there are too many things going on, is I don’t say “No” enough to the things that don’t matter as much. And inevitably, those things that I don’t say no to, by default, means I am saying no to other things that do matter. For example, when I don’t say no to speaking at a youth group across town, I end up saying no to family dinner and hang out time. Ask yourself, does your calendar have to be that busy? If you can cut some things out, what can you afford to cut out?
- Say “YES” to the things that matter more. I know that family is the obvious thing that matters more, but I also think that there are work-related things that I can say yes to that matter more. In the process of saying no more, I end up saying no to all the other ministries in the church, because “they don’t matter as much.” However, that’s not always true. Sometimes, it’s really important to say yes to other ministries or co-workers or parents. At my previous church, I said no to volunteering the youth group to tighten bolts on the worship center chairs, and I said no to that for 6 years. Maybe I should’ve said yes once. Maybe you have an attitude like no other ministry is as important as yours, and therefore you always say no. What would it look like if you said yes, every once in a while, to another ministry, for the benefit of the Church, for the benefit of teamwork, and for the benefit of unity? As I strive to make sure our church continues to stay multi and inter-generational, I want to look for opportunities to partner with other ministries and ministry leaders to show that we are team players and that students have ownership in this place.
- Evaluate and not be afraid of it. I simply do not evaluate enough. If all I’m doing is evaluating my life at the end or beginning of every year, that’s not going to cut it. I need to establish a culture of evaluating in my ministry and my life. One reason I don’t evaluate, is because I’m afraid of it. Evaluating an area of my life or my ministry opens the door to negative feedback. Negative feedback opens to the door to realizing I’m not doing a good job. Not doing a good job opens the door to my feelings being hurt. Well, this year, it’s time for me to toughen up. I want to realize that all negative feedback is not personal. Negative feedback opens the door to positive changes. And when I don’t listen to the people I’m serving, am I really serving them? If restaurants, hotels, and businesses see the importance of doing surveys and evaluations to better their product, I do too. So, this year, I’m going to send out surveys to parents and leaders, and surround myself with people who will speak openly and honestly into my life. I’m going to invite the tough conversations and learn to improve. I’m going to give a voice to the people around me, and I’m going to listen!
What areas in the church do you need to say no to more?
What areas in the church do you need to say yes to more?
How can you evaluate your ministry and life more frequently and more effectively?
What is something else that’s new you want to do in 2019?
Nick Ballard is the Next Gen Pastor at Harvester Christian Church in St. Charles, MO, which is outside of St. Louis. He has been in full-time student ministry since 2005. Nick loves student ministry and the local church.