New Year's Resolutions: Yay or Nay?

I don’t know about you, but New Year’s resolutions often creep up in my thoughts and mind every year around mid-December. Weight loss plans often flood my mind after eating the kitchen clean and vacationing with my in-laws. Often, as well, I find myself looking for ways to improve my spiritual habits as a believer in Jesus Christ. There are so many thoughts that run through anyone’s mind (especially mine) as a new year approaches and begins. So, with those thoughts, I though it would be fitting to share a blog post regarding my past year and how I believe I will aim to improve in 2020.

New Pastorate

Most of our friends know this, but 2019 was my first full year as a senior/lead/whatever else you call them pastor. In other words, I transitioned out of student ministry in September 2018 – you can read about that here. With that being said, January 1, 2019, began my first full year in the pastorate and, to be completely honest with you, I was scared out of my mind. I have never been the one to preach three to four times per week in my entire years of ministry before September 2018 (6 1/2 years in youth ministry), so I had some questions and insecurities (still do!) when it came to preaching every week and managing my time.

At every other church at which we’ve served, I have always worked with other staff members. However, at Arbor Grove – our current church, I am the only paid staff member in the church. So, being the only staff member has really challenged me on the everyday challenges of time, scheduling, productivity, and sermon preparation. Not to mention, I have never preached in front of a congregation every single week. Though I did study theological studies and pastoral ministry in college, my confidence in my preaching abilities tends to scale downward rather than upward. So, there was quite a bit of challenging times for me because I was the guy who must be prepared every week to speak to God’s people gathered together to worship.

Continuing Education

Not only was I entering the first full year of the pastorate, but I was also entering the final year of my first Masters degree. Continuing my education has been a constant goal of mine since I graduated college with my undergraduate degree. So, in December 2019, I finished my first Masters degree from Welch College with a 93 page thesis on applying the Spiritual Disciplines to sermon preparation. If you would like to see a copy of this thesis, you can download it here (please do not feel obligated to read it!).

Also, I will begin pursuing my Master of Divinity at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary this year! I am excited because this degree was the first goal I had in college when I knew I wanted to continue my education.

A New Year, A New Goal

So, my goal/resolution/aim is to know God. Knowing God is not a goal for one year, it is a goal for a lifetime. To be a better preacher, I must to know God. To be a better pastor, I must know God. To be a better student, I must know God. To be a better husband and father, I must know God. To be a better friend, I must know God. To be the Christian God has revealed for me to be through his Word, I must know Him. A goal for all believers this must be!

New Goal

So, dear friends, may this be our goal!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Matthew 6:33, ESV

Blessings to you and yours in 2020,

Ben

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