It’s resolution time! Yep, it’s that time of year again. Maybe you’ve already crafted one or two resolutions for the coming year. Maybe it’s making it to the gym more often or committing to read a certain number of books. I have made resolutions from year-to-year, and I have often wondered why some of my own haven’t been so successful. Even those Bible reading plans that we start can fizzle away by the time we hit Leviticus or deciphering those genealogies.
All this to say, I think most of our resolutions fall short because they have to do completely with and about – us. Now, it’s a good thing to set personal goals and strive to better ourselves. This practice is a worthwhile undertaking. However, if all we strive for is to better ourselves for the betterment of only ourselves, we fall short of this “others first” life that we have been called to live out. As people, we often like to minimize risk and our resolutions tend to not really impact anyone outside ourselves. This makes them easy to fail at because we tend to give ourselves a pass or overlook some goals that we set out to achieve but didn’t.
What if we did things differently this time around? What if our resolutions at the start of a new year were not so much about us but rather someone else? Would we be more successful resolving to change to bless and minister to the heart of another? As ministry leaders, we have an incredible task and the best work to do on the planet – hands down! Let me ask you this. What if you asked your kids what three resolutions you should make this coming year. You might need to explain what a resolution is to some of our younger kiddos. But I think there’s power in the humbling activity of asking those who you minister to how you can become a better leader and often seeking their feedback. Not many adults often bend down to the level of a child or student and ask them to be part of their feedback loop or personal development. And often, kids are primed to see things that we can often have a difficult time seeing ourselves. They are experts in our behaviors, mannerisms, and practices. They notice and, study everything we do and often with great scrutiny much to our chagrin.
As you engage in this tradition of setting goals and resolutions for yourself this coming year, consider these three that I think our kids would like to see their leaders make for 2018.
- Be Present – Kids know when they don’t have our full attention, and sometimes life can leave our minds and heart scattered in a thousand different places. It can be hard to leave work at the office and set good and healthy boundaries. However, I think kids would benefit greatly, especially as we frame this in the context of discipleship to know that we are completely in the room with them and that our attention isn’t off lingering somewhere else. As you begin 2018, consider making an effort to resolve to bring your whole being as you minister to kids. Bringing the best and most complete version of who you are is what your kids are often looking for when they interact with you. Perhaps that’s why they call it the present.
- Be Honest – How many of us have winged a Bible lesson or pull some facts out of thin air? Kids know when we are faking it to make it, and they can sniff out our insecurity. One of the ways that you can resolve to be honest is just to admit when you don’t know something. Often as leaders, we think we need to have all the answers 100% of the time. Nobody likes a know-it-all, and our kids need to see us admitting that we do in fact have limitations. We are human. We don’t know everything, but all learning begins at the cross-sections of curiosity and humility. Resolve to be honest and admit when you don’t know something. You just might embark on an incredible journey of discovery and your kids will see that you have space for them along the way.
- Be Curious – I’ve never met a child that was boring. Adults can drift away in the vast sea of unoriginality. But the truth is that you are made in His image and likeness. You’re not boring or unoriginal. You are God’s masterpiece. Our imaginations can drift into standby mode. We stop taking risks, learning, growing, and practicing the art of adventure. Let me ask you this: Do your kids catch you in the act of being curious? Curiosity is contagious, and it has a multiplying effect that can draw unlikely followers into conversations, learning, and discovery. Make 2018 a year of unleashing curiosity in your ministry. Make it a regular part of your conversations and relationships with kids. It’s really difficult to make disciples that make disciples when curiosity isn’t a part of the equation.
So, as you enter into 2018 and think about the year ahead. What kind of leader do you want to be as the year unfolds and for who’s betterment? Consider making some resolutions of your own and not for your sake but for the sake of another.
Be Present, Be Honest, and Be Curious.