New Year’s Evolutions

December 27, 2016 | Get free updates of new posts here

So the year is wrapping up, we’re all looking back and remembering our successes and failures of the last 12 months. Some of you are filled with joy and pride because of what you’ve been able to accomplish this year and some of you are disappointed, frustrated and wondering where you go from here.

Enter.. New Year’s Resolutions!

All of a sudden we feel like we can go from success to success or from zero to hero simply by placing some magnificent goal in front of us and committing to that behaviour for 365 days. Whether it’s the number of books we read, how much we pray, how many times we work out or how many Bible verses we memorize there is this attraction to new behaviour at this time of year which tempts us with the promise of new results and new success.

I’m not here to rain on your resolution parade but if you are part of the 92% of people who fail to keep their New Year’s Resolution through to completion let me offer you an alternative.

New Year’s Evolution.

Don’t think resolution, think evolution.


Why charge out of the gate with a commitment to read one book a week when you struggle to read one book a month? Why proclaim you’re going to read the whole Bible twice this year when you don’t really spend regular time reading it at all? Why waste time sticking to a ridiculous goal when you haven’t laid the groundwork already?

Hear me out for a second. I’m not discouraging audacious goals and I don’t want to squash your dreams.

I want to help you succeed and I want to encourage you to change your thinking from resolution to evolution.

One way this changed for me was when I began thinking about the quality of our worship services – how well we lead people, how clear we are about the gospel, how we encourage people to come back next week, how we point them to Jesus. Whatever your wins are for Sunday, how can you work as a lead to help your team increase the quality of your worship service?

Evolution, not resolution.

Think of the 52 Sundays which are coming in 2017. If you could improve the quality of your worship service by a factor of 2% each Sunday over the next year, what would happen? All of a sudden you’d look back one year from now and you’d see an overall improvement of 100%! Woah. That’s big. (And yes, technicalities would say 52 x 2% = 104% but let’s assume you’ll miss your target a couple of those weeks!)

Is 2% improvement a sustainable evolution over the course of a year? You better believe it is!

How can you get 2% better each week? Here are some ideas just as an example of seeing this transformation as evolution instead of resolution.

  • Call to worship – can you make the opening of your service 2% better this week than it was last week? Spend time thinking about the first thing you’ll say as a pastor or worship leader to open your service.
  • Transitions – can you make those change points in your service 2% better this week than they were last week? Think about lighting, timing, language and the emotion in the room and how you can help create a more meaningful experience for people who are participating.
  • Next steps – can you make the application points of the message/service 2% clearer this week than they were last week? Think about relevant ways that what the Bible says can impact the lives of people in your church.

This is the power of cumulative change or compound interest or bringing multiple team roles into alignment with each other. The small changes you make week after week all of a sudden bring multiplied impact not only to the area of change but really to the whole thing you are working on.

In my mind this applies to so much of what we do as a church but also to each of us personally.

Want to double your Bible reading this year? Think evolution, not resolution. How can you make small changes in your Bible study reading habits that will have exponential impact over the course of the year?

Want to learn a new skill this year? Think evolution, not resolution. Start small, commit to the process and look for ways to stay engaged with creativity and new learning.

At the end of the day growth is not optional. What you can control is whether you are going to increase or decrease in your effectiveness this year as a worship leader, as a pastor, as an artist, as a speaker, whatever your role is. One year from now will you look back to see the evolution of your ability or will you only be looking for the next resolution that you think will finally solve your problem?

Let me encourage you again to think evolution instead of resolution. I can’t wait to hear about some of your New Year’s Evolutions and how a year from now you have developed a new skill, increased in your effectiveness as a leader or seen some new opportunity because of the growth that has happened. I’m cheering you on!

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