Our calendars recently changed to the final month of 2018. If your fall ministry season has been anything like mine, you have likely been surprised by how quickly December arrived. You are now probably scrambling to get everything that needs to be accomplished checked off your task list before the ball drops in New York City. The pace of the next few weeks will make December a complete blur for us all.
Before the month gets away from us, let me present you with a challenge. How can you leverage the remaining days of December to prepare for the coming year? Before you begin reflecting too deeply on that question, let me also challenge you to consider a more focused approach. Do not think about this preparation work in terms of your church or your team. I want to challenge you to make it way more personal.
Maybe a better way to ask the question is: How can you leverage the remaining days of the year to prepare to lead yourself better next year? The importance and practice of self-leadership have caused the spill of a great deal of ink in the past few years and rightfully so. There is no greater responsibility for a leader than to lead themselves well. It is job number one.
How are you intentionally going to do that better in 2019? I have a suggestion that might help. Block out a couple of hours in the next week to process the list of questions below. Calendar the necessary events. Make the appropriate lists. Identify necessary resources and key people. Make a date with yourself right now and add it to your calendar.
How do you plan to engage the Bible?
There is a direct connection between our engagement in the Bible and both spiritual growth and effective self-leadership. What is your plan to ensure that engagement happens on a daily basis in 2019? I recommend picking a strategic reading plan on the YouVersion Bible app and sticking to it.
What will your daily prayer rhythm look like?
Every great move of God has always been preceded by a posture of prayer. If God is going to show up in your life and ministry next year in big ways, it demands you find your way to your knees and do so often. What will your prayer rhythm look like? How will you incorporate extended moments of prayer into your weekly and monthly calendar? Get those moments on the calendar now and commit to keeping each appointment with Jesus.
What resources or training opportunity will you leverage to grow as a leader?
Leaders are learners. No truer words have been spoken. There is an almost endless list of resources and training opportunities for us today. We should be grateful for that, so compile a list of resources you plan to access next year. Get those training opportunities on the calendar. I would highly recommend you consider making the trip to Orlando in March for the 2019 Exponential Conference.
Have you scheduled your days off and vacation time?
God intended for life to have a very specific rhythm. Work six days and rest one. If our life does not have this rhythm, some terrible fruit will come to bear. Call up your calendar app right now and get your days of rest scheduled. Everything else you do next year should be planned around off days and vacation time.
Who will be in your life on a consistent basis who can speak both grace and truth into you?
Proverbs 13:20 makes a powerful statement:
“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harms.”
The value of walking with the wise and having people in our lives that have the freedom to speak the truth into our lives cannot be overstated. There will likely be moments in 2019 when you’ll need fresh expressions of God’s grace. Make sure you have some folks lined up who can provide those expressions when needed.
You have a choice to make as you move into next year–one of peace and joy rather than busy-ness and despair. Each item listed above is a tool for you to use. In the next few posts, we’ll be sharing with you how to daily, hourly, and at times minute-by-minute take on 3 different, open-handed/hearted postures. Those postures include that of generosity, gratitude, and surrender. You may have heard Danielle Strickland speak on these before. They have been key in helping me and others I work with stay focused and maintain clarity in various situations. So stay tuned for those.