Every year holds both highs and lows that will move our lives in new directions.
2017 started for me with a new low. Dad’s health began failing at Christmas, and he passed on January 8th. It was a difficult start and sent my whole year into a spinning emotional roller coaster. Still, the rest of the year went well. My second son finished his sports career and graduated high school. It was the bittersweet journey of a boy into manhood. Two boys are now in college, one is a junior in high school, and my baby is now a freshman. Personally, my life is transitioning to pursuing new horizons that lie beyond school and sports.
Professionally, things at Church have gone well this past year. We had the biggest attendance on Easter and Christmas of any Church I have ever led. We hosted a very well attended VBS over the summer. Twelve people were baptized this year, and numerous people took the membership class. We transitioned to two worship programs on Sunday morning, and dozens of people visited the Church in the past three months since it started. It was a year full of decisions, changes, growth and new connections. God has blessed my ministry and the Church I lead in several ways, and I am excited about what the future holds for all of us.
What did 2017 hold for you? Now is an excellent time to reflect on both your achievements and disappointments. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes to do a review of the past year before moving on to the next.
This is also a great time to dream about 2018. We stand on the edge of the unknown. It will be exciting and scary at times. There is unlimited potential lying ahead of us over the next 365 days.
I am dreaming about the future and setting goals. It was suggested to me to set five personal goals and five professional goals before January 1. I want to be a better spouse, parent, and pastor. I am planning exact ways to make that happen.
Here are my three suggestions for everyone heading into the new year. First, set five goals for yourself. Second, pray regularly about how these things can develop in your life. Finally, create a plan of action. For example, I want to strengthen my marriage this next year. I am asking God to give me ideas and opportunities to make it happen. Currently, I plan to have a date night every other week with my wife. On the opposite weeks, I want to have an at home night with time together and possibly a movie.
Sure, God will throw things at you this next year that you never planned, and things can change at a moment’s notice. For now, I am moving in faith in the directions of my dreams. I know God is in charge and with his help 2018 will be another great year for myself and his kingdom.
I pray this next year will be full of joy and spiritual growth. I will see you next year.