As the New Year rolls in, people all over the world will be taking a hard look at themselves and making decisions that will hopefully change their lives for the better. Pastors, I hope you’re doing the same. How can you become a better spiritual leader this coming year? Here are a few suggestions to help you get started in 2014:
I used to dislike reading because the materials I read were mostly required by professors. Requiring something always seems to take the fun out of it. I’m sure some of you feel the same way. Now that I have the freedom to choose the books that I want to read, I’m making the most of that opportunity. I cringe at the thought of pastors declining to read books because they mistakenly believe that they already know enough to get by. Reading books opens up a whole realm of experiences that would take years for a person to attain on their own. Broaden your horizons by reading more. This will help you learn from the experiences of others and hopefully help you dodge some major setbacks in life.
Your reading materials don’t have to be limited to pastoral and theological books. Go ahead and read a biography, a leadership book, or a fictional tale. I’ve learned an equal amount from books that aren’t theological in nature. When you realize that there are too many books in the world and far too little time, you know you’re hooked into reading.
One of the fascinating things I learned last year is this: if you want to build friendships, you’ve got to initiate. I’ve met all kinds of interesting people and heard all kinds of interesting stories because I initiated to meet up with them and have a conversation. I’ve found that most people are very much willing to meet up with you. This is because they’re also looking to build some genuine friendships with others.
It’s not too difficult to initiate a meeting. I’ve found that a simple email or a text message is sufficient. You don’t have to be so formal and there doesn’t have to be an agenda. Simply get to know another person.
This coming year, go beyond your own little world and explore. Travel to a faraway land. Take up a strange hobby. Go bungee jumping. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Not only will this give you stories to share at the pulpit but it will also change the way you see the world around you.
Lastly, make a concerted effort to hone your skills and abilities. Don’t just rest on your laurels. So many people settle for just being good enough without realizing the greater potential they possess. Figure out what you do well at and capitalize on them. Advance those strengths to even higher levels. Also figure out what you do poorly at and improve them a single step at a time.
I hope you have a great start to the New Year!
Join the discussion: What are you planning to do this year?
See other preaching ideas here: Thoughts on Preaching