Can you believe that 2011 is almost history? Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were saying goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011?

 I’ve spent some time lately looking back at the last 11 months of this year and analyzing what has transpired in our children’s ministry, looking at the goals that were established at the beginning of the year and where we stand today on those goals. Hopefully you too have or will be doing this soon. I have examined the subjects/themes that were taught, the different areas in which we’ve challenged the children, and the social/relational development of our children. Have we met all of the goals for this past year? Honestly? Nope. Thankfully, my ministry here isn’t over. I still have 2012 to work on the areas where we didn’t quite make it.

As I start looking at 2012, allow me to share with you some thoughts on how to prepare for the upcoming year …

* REFRESH. Find a time that you can get alone, away from the hustle of the everyday gamut of unending interruptions and distractions. A respite from the bustle is essential to escape the multitude of voices beckoning for your attention. It might be a morning away from the office and taking a walk along the shoreline of the beach or finding a bench at a local park. I find that in this “be still and know that I am God” time that I begin to sense a refreshing and His voice becomes undeniably clear.
* DEFINE. In this time of solitude, God will begin to speak by His Holy Spirit. Rest assured of the fact that God has plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11) that He wants to convey by His Spirit (John 16:13). As His plans unfold, there will come clear definition for where you will lead the ministry. There might be a prompting to focus on specific areas of ministry (worship, giving, hearing the voice of God, etc.) in your teaching. There might come direction for a specific area in which the children should be challenged to provide finances (a water well in Africa, Bibles for an unreached people group, etc.). Through prayer, define and gain direction for where you want to be at the end of 2012 with your children and staff.
* CHALLENGE. Years ago, Robert Schuller preached a message that greatly influenced me. The sermon focused upon allowing the size of my God to set the size of my dream. The dream that God has for you and your ministry is gigantic. This will require you to step out by faith and take gigantic steps to pursue after that dream. Accept the challenge. With God ALL things are possible.
* ESTABLISH. Seal the deal by writing down your God-given dream (vision). (Habakkuk 2:2). This will keep you on track. Throughout the year it will also be a reminder when the going gets rough (and it does from time to time) to keep on keeping on because you have a resolution that you aren’t pursuing your plans. You have heard from God!

The purpose for this week’s blog is to challenge you to not just float haphazardly through 2012 and allow another year to just happen. Let’s start now planning for a year that will bring God’s Kingdom much fruit and cause much damage to the camp of the enemy.