Pastors, Consider These 4 New Year’s Resolutions This Year

As we look to a new year, we can anticipate that the produce section at the local grocery store will be packed with people freshly resolved to eat more vegetables, and we may need to wait in line for our favorite piece of equipment at the gym as a wave of people attempt anew to prioritize their health and fitness. 

To be sure, many New Year’s resolutions are perennial. In many ways, we know exactly what we should be doing. We do not lack for proverbial wisdom about our well being and success. It’s just the “doing it” part where we get tripped up. 

Nevertheless, now is a good time to set your intentions for the new year. While you won’t always be as consistent in your followthrough as you had hoped, the process of setting resolutions can be an important spiritual discipline that at least sets our focus in the right direction. 

As we look ahead to 2023, here are four New Year’s resolutions pastors may consider committing themselves to.

1. Resolve To Feed Your Own Soul.

This has often been said, but you will never be able to give your congregation what you do not have. You can’t guide them to spiritual health and maturity if you are not journeying there yourself. So resolve to be intentional about continuing your spiritual journey with Jesus this year. 

This could mean different things to different pastors, based on your season of life and ministry. For some, it means recapturing a sense of wonder for the Scriptures, committing to read them systematically for the first time in a long time. For others, it means enrolling in therapy or spiritual direction to diagnose and redress budding spiritual and emotional issues that could hamper your leadership. For others still, it may mean addressing a pet sin that is small enough to keep you from getting fired from your pastorate but you nonetheless know is keeping you from becoming more like Jesus. 

Commit to taking time to reflect on and pray about the condition of your soul. What do you need to focus on this year to ensure that you not only survive your pastorate but thrive in the midst of it, influencing your congregation to do the same?

2. Resolve To Think With Nuance and Communicate With Clarity.

For the past two years, the adage has become that we are living in “uncertain times.” This is our “new normal,” as it doesn’t appear things will be getting any more “certain” anytime soon. In a world that is highly politicized and marked by routine upheaval, people are looking to their spiritual leaders for guidance.

Whether it is matters of racial justice, immigration, emerging gender ideologies, legal and social factors that affect abortion rates, or any number of other hot button issues, most people in the pews are receiving a deluge of commentary from news pundits and bloggers to shape their moral frameworks. And most of the time, they are hearing nothing from their pastors. 

This isn’t to say that pastors should commit to responding to every latest headline with their sermons or social media posts. But it is to say that the Bible speaks to all of these issues—just not with the same talking points as politicians or news pundits, on either side of the aisle. 

Discussing these hot button issues is rife with danger, and no matter what you do, some will be intent on assuming that you said something abhorrent that you never actually said. Even still, a vast majority of your people will be thankful for you speaking to these issues in biblical terms rather than partisan ones.

Wading into these issues will require research, study, and contemplation. If you are aware of the issues that your congregants are thinking and talking about but don’t know much about them yourself, commit to setting aside time to dive into them.

Again, not every week’s sermon should be a response to the weekly news. Being slow to speak on issues in the headlines is a wise practice. But when you do speak, strive to be measured yet bold, nuanced yet clear. 

3. Resolve To Be Generous in Pouring Into Others.

One of the most valuable assets a leader has is time. High capacity leaders know how to be intentional with it, learning what they should say no to in order to maximize their impact. Pastors must be good stewards of their limited time.

That’s all true and good. But if God has called us to be generous in all things, and our time is the most valuable asset we have, how can we also be intentionally generous with it? 

Consider the ways in which you can be generous in pouring into others this year. It may be someone on your staff or volunteer team. Commit to giving them greater access to your time and wisdom. It may be lingering with one particular congregant or another after service on Sunday. Commit to being extra generous with at least one person a week. It may be spending a few extra minutes at the bedside of a church member who has been admitted to the hospital. Commit to staying a little while to chat and pray. 

Most people understand that their pastors are busy, and they don’t want to bother them unnecessarily. So it will fall to you to offer your time to people who have not explicitly asked for it but undoubtedly want it.

4. Resolve To Build Rhythms of Rest Into Your Year.

Despite jokes from certain cranky congregants about pastors only working one day a week, pastors are too often overworked and overwhelmed. The demands of ministry are constant. If you’re waiting for the perfect time to take a break, you’ll never find it. 

This year, for the sake of your church, your family, and your personal health, commit to regular rhythms of rest. Be religious (in the best sense of the word) about regularly taking time off in the course of a week, month, and throughout the year. 

Further, encourage your entire team to do the same. Create a culture wherein members of the team respect each other’s limits and need for rest. As you build your yearly calendar out, be mindful of how you stack major events or initiatives on top of each other. Build in “slow months,” times where members of your team can catch their breath, celebrate what God has done thus far, recuperate, and look ahead to “the next big thing” with a sense of excitement rather than exhaustion and dread. 

Make a Fresh Commitment to Walking With Jesus in 2023. 

Undoubtedly, God has some great things in store for you this year in your life and ministry. With equal certainty, we can predict that new challenges will arise. In some moments, you will handle your trials and triumphs spectacularly, showing a measure of grace and aplomb that surprises even you. In other moments, not so much. 

Only commit afresh to walking with Jesus in 2023. Not to being perfect. Not to “changing the world” by whatever measure you are using. Just walking with Jesus and trusting that he will work within you to accomplish his will. He most certainly can and will do more than you can imagine.

This article originally appeared on and is published here by permission.


Dale Chamberlain
Dale Chamberlain

Dale Chamberlain is content manager for With experience in pastoral ministry as well as the corporate marketing world, he is also an author and podcaster who is passionate about helping people tackle ancient truths in everyday settings.