7 New Year’s Resolutions Every Pastor Should Consider

The new year is upon us and with its arrival comes an opportunity to review the past year and consider some changes. I believe one of the most powerful changes anyone can make is habit changes and this list will reflect that.

7 New Year's Resolutions Every Pastor Should Consider

But before we get to the changes we should consider, I want to encourage you to do a personal review of the past year. Feel free to do this with a notebook and just work through each of these questions:

  • What went well this past year? [personally? professionally?]
  • What didn’t go well this past year? [personally? professionally?]
  • What am I most thankful for looking back at this past year? [personally? professionally?]
  • What was the biggest challenge I faced and how did that turn out?

Those questions should get you started. Feel free to think through others, too.

7 New Year’s Resolutions Every Pastor Should Consider 

1. Maximize Your Mornings

I used to be a night owl. But I decided to change that. Now, I wake up between 5am and 6am every day. For my context, most days this allows me a couple hours time before I need to get ready and head to the office. Here’s what I do:

  1. Coffee
  2. Writing or Editing
  3. Bible Reading
  4. Prayer
  5. Book Reading

If you had an hour or two of extra time in the mornings, what would you be able to do?

2. Set a Reading Input Goal

A lot of people set reading goals around the number of books they want to read. That’s great. But in my process-oriented mind, it doesn’t make a ton of sense. Why? Because books are different sizes and there is the same amount of time in all 365 days of the year. So since I want to build a sustainable reading habit, I decided to take a different approach.

Instead of setting a reading goal around the number of books to read in a year, I recommend setting a reading goal around the number of pages to read in a day.

You can keep track of your daily reading progress with the Goodreads app/site. If you use Goodreads, let’s connect there!

The daily reading goal I have set for myself is 25 pages. That should put me on pace to read 40-50 books in the year, but just because my goal is 25 pages doesn’t mean I have to stop there and it doesn’t mean I’ll hit the goal every day.

3. Do Some One-on-One or Very Small Group Discipleship

After attending this year’s Disciple Making Forum, I realized that I needed to become more intentional with how I am directly and personally discipling others. So, in addition to discipling my community group, I have set a goal to invite three people into a one-on-one discipleship thing. I’m not really sure what to call it, but what I am going to do is simply this:

  • Meet with them once a week for lunch or breakfast.
  • Read Scripture separately and then discuss together.
  • Read books together – I’m going to start with Knowledge of the Holy by AW Tozer. Then discuss together.
  • Encourage and challenge each other.
  • Pray for each other.

Throughout the year, I’ll look for opportunities to serve together, but along with this, I’ll be encouraging them to find places to serve in the church if they’re not already doing so.

4. Don’t Waste Meetings

No one likes a meeting that goes nowhere. So why not make sure that every meeting you set and are a part of has a purpose and a plan?

Now, to make sure this happens, set a goal for your meeting and always make an action step(s) from the meeting.

5. Take More Off Your Plate By Equipping Others

Most pastors are doing too much for their church to thrive. The following, unfortunately, is one of the most ignored passages in Scripture when it comes to church leadership:

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ… – Ephesians 4

What this means is that we must be developing others to do the work of ministry. What this doesn’t mean is that we should delegate and run. Don’t do that.

If you need some help in developing your people, check out TrainedUp.Church. They are doing great work!

6. Get Further Ahead in Your Sermon Prep

Instead of trying to figure out what you’re preaching on Sunday on Monday beforehand, set aside an afternoon and plan out a year of preaching. Then, set up Evernote and begin collecting illustration ideas, commentaries, quotes, and any other potential sermon content.

A great tool that will help you stay ahead in your sermon prep is the Sticky Sermons Notebook. You can use it to plan sermon series out, see your entire year of planned sermons, and do individual sermon prep work and outlining all in one place. It’s what I use in conjunction with Evernote.

7. Keep Track of Your Mileage

I know this is an odd one to include, but this is a huge money-saver for pastors. For the longest time, I tried keeping track of my mileage using a physical mileage notebook thing. I might have recorded two drives a year.

But everything changed when I discovered MileIQ. This is a smartphone app that automatically logs your drives and then you go in and can designate a drive as “business” or “personal.” Then, at the end of the year, they send you your mileage report that you can take with you when you have your taxes done.

This saves me thousands of dollars every year.

You get 40 drives for free to give it a try and can either pay monthly ($5.99) or yearly ($59.99 – I do yearly because it’s an automatic 20% savings).

But if you use my link, I can get you an additional 20% off.

Whether you use MileIQ, another app, or you keep track using a physical log notebook, please do yourself a favor and keep track of your mileage this year!

What Would You Add?

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Written by Brandon Kelley

Brandon Kelley is the co-founder of Rookie Preacher and the author of Preaching Sticky Sermons and Crucified to Life. He serves as the Senior Pastor of First Church of Christ in Bluffton, IN. He also writes at BrandonKelley.org. You can follow him @BrandonKelley_. Watch his sermons here.