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5 Practices for Crushing It In the New Year

Of course, January is synonymous with New Year’s resolutions.

At our church, this resolution mindset is driving us to make and clarify goals for a new season of ministry.  What I’m about to share with you is not a list of personal resolutions that I can let slide. These five commitments will help drive me towards having the best ministry year and the personal year I am capable of having. These are the five practices I’m determined to pursue because they’ll help me stay focused, fresh, and growing.

1. KRA (Key Result Area)

Our staff is in the process (or will be in the process) of setting focused annual targets called KRAs. A KRA is not a goal—it’s bigger than a goal. It is an area in your reach (something in your sphere of influence and responsibility), where a positive result moves your ministry or organization forward. KRA’s could change from year to year, but if they truly are crucial to the organization they may stay the same each year. Here are a few examples of what your KRAs could be:

  • No Throwaway Sundays
  • Leadership Multiplication
  • Multiplication and Discipleship

After you lay out three to six KRA’s, come up with goals for each one to help move each area forward. Here are questions I’m asking to help set my handful of goals for each KRA:

  • No Throwaway Sundays: What are my practices for making every gathering worth attending?
  • Leadership Multiplication: What is my plan for recruiting and developing leaders?
  • Multiplication and Discipleship: What may I practice to help teenagers find Jesus and attach themselves to him?

I layout my KRAs in three columns.

  1. KRA
  2. Goals
  3. Progress

Column 3 may have a due date in it, but it will ultimately remain blank until I start working on each goal. Your KRA breakdown could look as simple as this.

I’m probably oversimplifying this, but this is how I do it. If you have mastered this (or have a useful form) please share what you are doing and leave a link in the comments below.

2. Personal Growth Plan

This will be one of my KRAs. This is a set of personal goals set to care for my Heart, Soul, Mind, Strength, Family, and so on. The keyword here is personal. I had to create a Personal Growth Plan in college. It felt like an academic hoop to jump through back then, but I have taken it more seriously the past five years and really enjoy having one.

3. Sabbatical

It is a blessing to me, my family, and my ministry that my church is giving me a sabbatical. I am breaking up my time away into four chunks:

  • Leadership Development: I will meet with ministry leaders at other churches.
  • Family Bonding: We will take a family vacation.
  • Marriage Commitment: Away, with no kids… Need I say more?
  • Personal Growth: I will meet with mentors and prepare to return to my daily work routine

4. Leadership Clarity Days

My friend Shane Stacey challenged me to take time away each month—maybe four hours, maybe a whole day—for the purpose of renewal and gaining clarity for the coming month. I once called these personal retreat days, but I was reminded that Leadership Clarity sounds better to a pastor and elder board.

I plan to fill these days with things like devotion, worship, calendaring, visioneering, aligning, planning, and praying. This is not an offsite Netflix day or an extra day off. Be good stewardship of days like this.

5. Six-by-Six

The Six-by-Six is an idea our staff took from Bill Hybels’ book “Leadership Axioms: Powerful Leadership Proverbs.” In basic terms, a Six-by-Six is a commitment to six things that you plan to accomplish in six weeks. These six things could be your goals or a tool to help you achieve your goals. I cannot say it better than Bill. 

Bonus: Read, Read, Watch, Listen, Read
Read books. Read blogs. Watch leadership videos. Listen to audiobooks and podcasts. And read more books. 

January is a natural time to launch into something new, but there’s never a bad time to launch into focus, freshness, and growth.

Psst…looking for more posts for the New Year? Check these out!

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

3 thoughts on “5 Practices for Crushing It In the New Year

  1. This was one of the most concise and helpful articles I have read on the topic of ministry effectiveness and personal development. Thank you Brandon.

  2. Cherry Daniels

    Great article Brandon! Could you give advice on how to shape this into something that a youth leader of a new small youth group could use? Some of these steps are not realistic for a small youth group that is just growing. Thank you!

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5 Practices for Crushing It In the Ne...

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