The new year is underway and those resolutions may already feel burdensome. The first few weeks of January are the make-it or break-it time for these new commitments.  

But if you want to avoid another year of the same-old, same-old, now is the time to double-down on those significant life changes. Once they become habits, it’s much easier to maintain them as the weeks turn into months.  

For those of us who love the church, the new year is also a great opportunity to assess your congregation’s health.

If you’re looking for some ways to help your church strive in 2017, here are three tips to get you started:

1. Recommit to your mission and vision.

These are your core drivers, and they help form the essence of who your church is. But as with almost anything, they can become stale and lifeless.

Now is a great time to revisit these important documents, examine them with fresh eyes and determine if your church is on the right path. If not, then gather your congregation and begin the process of recommitment.

If you find your mission and vision statements are no longer working or they need a reset, commit your church to this process in the new year. It’ll be worth the time and effort.

2. Address any lingering conflict.

This is not your everyday disagreement, but those long-term sores that never truly heal. They can sap the energy out of your congregation and prevent you from fulfilling the vision God has placed in front of you.

If you have conflict of this nature, take some time early this year to finally get to the bottom of it. It might not be easy, quick or painless, but once you’ve walked through the healing and restoration process, your church will be ready to tackle any challenge.

3. Don’t over-program your people.

Nothing inspires a congregation more than feeling loved and appreciated. It’s a wonderful recipe for commitment and focus. But it’s difficult for a church to demonstrate its commitment and focus if it is burdened by too many programs, meetings and events. The time allotment itself can become disheartening.

Take a step back and examine how much you expect of your congregation. Look for sufficient margin and space in the life of your church. If it’s not there, find ways to address the challenge. Fewer events may mean more participation—and more devotion.

These are just a few ways to help your church strive in 2017. Whether it’s these three tips or three others, it’s important to regularly examine where you’re at as a church and find ways to deepen your resolve, address any challenges and make sure your congregation is healthy.

Here’s to a 2017 filled with promise, hope and fulfillment! 

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