by Doug Talley
Wasn’t it just last week that the calendar was rolling around to 2000 and people were predicting the end of the world? Some of you remember the Y2K paranoia related to computers and how they would not be able to navigate the shift in centuries. That’s all ancient history. Now we are embarking on a new year and a new decade – 2020!
Have you made any New Year resolutions? Just less than half of Americans make them. Most pertain to weight loss, finding happiness or learning a new skill. I suspect people are sincere when they make them, but less than 10% actually fulfill their resolutions because they don’t change behaviors.
One of my peer mentors once told me that at the end of December of each year he reflects on the coming year and identifies changes he needs to make in his personal and ministry life. Basically, he is making a resolution or setting a goal, but he doesn’t call it that. In the 20 plus years we’ve been good friends, I’ve seen him follow through on a number of the changes.
What do you need to do, do differently, or change in 2020? I’ll pretty much guarantee you that if you don’t identify one or two things, then you won’t change any behaviors and you’ll finish the year where you are now . . . or worse – you’ll go backwards.
In terms of full-time Christian ministry, I am nearing the back of the book. I’ve still got a few more years left before I begin to slow the pace, but I am increasingly aware that the end of the book is rapidly approaching. As I reflect on 2020, I want to do less doing and more pouring into others.
I am wired to be a doer. I am motivated by accomplishing tasks, goals and projects. I could stay in a “do” mode the next 5-10 years and enjoy myself. But I realize if I do that, I limit my impact. To maximize impact I need to increasingly see my role as pouring into others and accomplishing things through them. Paul calls it in Ephesians “equipping the saints.”
We pastor types tend to be doers. We think our congregations hired us to do the ministry to them and for them. Then we wear ourselves out trying to fulfill everyone’s expectations. Paul would argue that we are called to pour into those we are discipling by teaching them to feed themselves, putting them into the condition they need to be in to engage in ministry, and reproducing ourselves in those who show potential and a desire to learn and grow.
When I started pastoring back in 1979, I was green and focused on doing ministry. As I’ve aged, a shift has been occurring so that I’ve increasingly been raising up others and equipping them. Now that I am moving towards the end of my full-time ministry, I’ve got to take bigger steps to reproduce myself in others.
Indirect success is when you accomplish things through other people, rather than do it yourself. People will clap for you if you preach a fantastic sermon. But if you help someone else preach a fantastic sermon, no one is going say a word of praise to you. But which has more lasting Kingdom impact – making others effective and successful or making yourself look good?
Regardless of your age, what are one or two resolutions/goals/commitments that you need to make to REALLY impact others and the Kingdom? What can you do to reproduce yourself and raise up others? If you’ve got the courage to make such a goal and then actually change your behaviors so it can be fulfilled, you will make more of a Kingdom impact in 2020 than you did last year. Probably more than the last five or 10 years. Go for it and THRIVE while helping others THRIVE!