Starting the New Year off Right

As we are now one month down into a new year, it’s a great time to stop and ask how we’re doing. Are we on a good start toward those new year’s hopes and dreams? Are the plans for change still in place that we had just 30 days ago?

One of the consistent battles in this culture will always be maintaining excellence in a status quo, “that’s good enough” world. Let’s look at three different scenarios for the youth leader.

Scenario #1—Everyone loves you. Whether that’s because you’ve only been there for 3 months and you’re still in the “honeymoon stage,” or you’ve been there forever and outlasted six pastors, or even that you are simply an amazing minister. You set the standard around the church and you’re nailing it. Well, who challenges you to keep raising the bar? Who says to you, “That’s awesome, but what is God going to do next?” When everyone loves us—and that rarely lasts forever—we need to be training ourselves to not read our own press and keep the challenges fresh and the inspiration flowing.

Scenario #2—You have a handful of people who love and support you, but you also have a handful of people who wouldn’t mind at all seeing you go, and then the rest of the church is just good with you as long as things keep rocking along close to what they are now. Lots of neutral people. But raising the bar and aspiring to a higher standard of ministry could swing the polar people to either side. That’s risky, isn’t it? Yeah, but which is better? Being accused of mediocrity or stepping up your game?

Scenario #3—Things aren’t going well and your church fan club broke up sometime last year. You’re actually in that Twilight Zone place of do I put my resume´ out or do I stick it out? Honestly, you are in a great place to learn and challenge yourself. If you feel like you can’t please anyone already, then why not please yourself—and more importantly, God. Get a new plan. Map our your ministry goals, ask a few close folks to pray for you, and then develop the best ministry your town has ever seen. Lift up your head and then raise your standard! Be excellent. Work hard. Glorify God.

Do you see how no matter what your circumstances are, you can challenge yourself to excellence and decide how high you will raise the bar for you! I’m not talking about rebellion or proving anything, just doing all you can with what you have.

Please remember—no matter your situation, you are making a difference in someone’s life. If you are diligent about walking with Christ daily and allowing Him to manifest Himself in your work, you are changing the world by changing someone’s world. And that’s why we’re all here.

"Let's go for it! Let's attack. We've seen the land and it is excellent. Are you going to just sit on your hands? Don't dawdle! Invade and conquer! When you get there, you'll find they're sitting ducks, totally unsuspecting. Wide open land—God is handing it over to you, everything you could ever ask for.” —Judges 18:9-10 MSG