By Dave Walsh, special to The Baptist Paper
As the Christmas season comes to a close, my tendency as a pastor is to collapse in my office and allow the new year to slip in with little or no thought of what to do in 2023. But God deserves better than this from me.
The New Year, to a degree, offers a clean slate to do dream and do things differently. Here are some ideas for places to start.
- Review the past year. Take a look back at 2022 at the events, ministries, missions and activities you had in your church. What can you do to improve the things that are already working? What didn’t go well? Should they be dropped in 2023 or is there something that can be done to breathe new life into them?
- Dream big. Where do you want your church and your members to be by the end of 2023? Seek the Lord to know each step to take. Remember, His ways are not our ways, but they’re always better.
- Look for new areas of need. What do you and your members see as areas in and around your church in need? Maybe there are underserved shut-ins, nursing home residents, college students or members of the military. Maybe there are projects around your community your church can take on to improve the area around you and show the love of Christ to your community. Look for needs that you and your members can help meet.
- Increase individual and corporate prayer. There is not a person or church that has all the prayer it needs. How can you grow in trust and faith in the Lord? How can you grow in you your love of Him and His Spirit? Are there practices or routines that you can encourage to help your church refocus on Him?
- Amp up your worship. This is not talking about turning your music up louder or changing your style of worship (although those might be necessary). Instead, the question is, “How can I get more and more of the congregation actively involved in worship?” Too often, the congregation sees worship as a spectator activity as opposed to the fervent desire of a Christ-centered heart. How can that be changed?
- Ground them in the Word. How much time is your average church member spending in the Bible? How can you encourage and celebrate Bible reading?
- Encourage personal giftings. God has gifted each of your members with certain talents and abilities. How can they use those to serve God and those around them? What can you as their pastor do to encourage them to understand and grow in their personal giftings?
EDITOR’S NOTE — Dave Walsh has served as a pastor for over 20 years, serving churches in Georgia and Alabama. He currently serves as pastor of Ariton Baptist Church in Alabama.