As a new Christian, I came across Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions. While New Year’s Resolutions (and resolutions in general) tend to have a bad rap, I found Edwards’ resolutions helpful and have occasionally written a few of my own. Reading the resolutions at the end of Philip Brown’s excellent article on “Working a ‘Secular’ Job as Service to Christ” inspired me to adapt and expand his list for pastoral ministry. If you’re a pastor or church leader, consider personalizing this list and regularly revisiting it, especially when you’re feeling discouraged or adrift.
God being my helper,
- I will choose to believe that God is sovereign over this church and my life, and has placed me here for eternal purposes—both my good and the good of others. Rom. 8:28–29; Ps. 75:6–7
- I will have a cheerful, excellent spirit as I stay where God has placed me, knowing that God can open or close any door of opportunity that he desires. Deut. 28:47; Dan. 6:3
- I will choose to be thankful each morning that I have this position and this opportunity to serve Christ. Col. 3:17
- I will choose to be content by remembering that meaning and satisfaction are not found in any of life’s components but only in life’s Creator. Eccl. 2:24; 5:18
- I will reject any temptation to compare myself with other pastors and churches, since this leads to envy, discontentment, and division. 2 Cor. 10:12
- I will focus on faithfully shepherding the flock that God has entrusted to me, and seek his help to be the best pastor that I can be. 1 Pet. 5:2; John 15:5
- I will trust God with the results, and rest in knowing that Christ has promised to build his church. Mt. 16:18; Acts 2:47
- I will prioritize holy character and my personal relationship with God so that I can lead with integrity and set an example for the flock. 1 Pet. 5:3; 1 Tim 3:1–7; Titus 1:5–9; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Cor. 9:27
- I will not use anything as a replacement for intimacy with my wife. Eph. 5:25
- I will not sin with my eyes. Mt. 5:29
- I will not get on screens or begin my day’s work until I have had morning devotions.
- I will be a man of prayer—devoted to struggling on behalf of the church in prayer, that I might present everyone mature in Christ. Acts 6:4; 1 Sam. 12:23; Col. 4:12
- I will be a student of Scripture and great books, devoted to preaching God’s word with complete patience and teaching. 2 Tim. 4:2; Acts 6:4; 1 Tim. 1:3–5; 4:6
- I will intentionally connect with people in the community so that I can share the gospel and Christ’s love with them. 2 Tim. 4:5; 1 Cor. 9:22
- I will prioritize my wife and children, and seek outside help when needed. 1 Tim. 3:4–5
- I will take care of my physical and emotional health. Ex. 31:15; 3 Jn. 1:2
- I will go to bed and get up around the same time every day.
- I will drink at least 64 ounces of water every day, eat mostly healthy food and snacks (e.g., eggs and apples), and avoid a high sugar intake.
- I will regularly exercise or go on walks.
- I will take a day off to rest every week (e.g., Monday) and regularly “get away” (e.g., through days in the woods, vacations, and/or spiritual retreats).
- I will stay closely connected with other pastors for support and accountability, and avoid drifting off into loneliness and isolation.
- I will frequently review these resolutions and, if I consistently break them, seek outside help.