Month: December 2023

20 Bible Verses for the New Year

What's the Word Wednesday

20 Bible Verses for the New Year

There’s no book that’s more hopeful than the Bible. For those of us that need fresh faith in the new year, there’s no better place to start than the Scriptures. Here are 20 Bible verses that can give us a renewed sense of hope, wonder, and faith in 2024.

The New Year is one of my favorite seasons of the year. It’s a time for fresh starts and new beginnings–a time to let go of what’s behind you, and press into hope for what lies ahead.

There’s no book that’s more hopeful than the Bible. For those of us that need fresh faith in the new year, there’s no better place to start than the Scriptures.

In the following article, we’ll take a look at 20 different Bible verses that can give us a renewed sense of hope, wonder, and faith in 2024.

What Does the Bible Say About the Start of a New Year?

In Jewish tradition, the start of the new year is traditionally celebrated in September or October during Rosh Hashanah (literally, “head of the year.”) Rosh Hashanah also marks the beginning of “The Days of Awe,” a 10-day period of “repentance and introspection.” The final day is Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement. In Judaism, these are two of the most important holidays of the year.

Though we might celebrate the new year during a different month than in the Bible–and though most of us may not partake in Jewish traditions during this time–the new year can still serve as a significant time for followers of Christ.

That’s because the Bible is full of verses that encourage us to look ahead to the future with hope. Throughout Scripture, we are continually reminded to put our hope in God, let go of the past, and live with anticipation for the coming of Jesus.

20 Bible Verses for the New Year

Here are 20 Bible verses that can encourage you in the new year. Try reading through these carefully, asking the Lord for guidance, and praying through individual scripture passages to encourage you for the next 12 months.

Bible Verses About Letting Go of the Past & Looking to the Future

The Bible often encourages us to let go of what isn’t helpful and press on ahead to the future.

  1. Isaiah 43:18-19

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

  1. Philippians 3:13-14

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

  1. Proverbs 4:25-27

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.

  1. Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

  1. Isaiah 41:10

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Bible Verses About Hope for the Future

The Bible always, always encourages us to hope for the future.

  1. Isaiah 65:17-19

See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.

But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.

I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.

  1. Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

  1. Romans 5:3-5

And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

  1. 1 Peter 5:10

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

  1. Ephesians 1:18-19

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Bible Verses About Strengthening Yourself for the Future

The Bible does not encourage a passive faith, but a faith that actively presses into the truth of Scripture and the strength of God.

  1. Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

  1. 2 Timothy 1:7

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

  1. 2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

  1. Hebrews 12:12-13

Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,”so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

  1. Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Bible Verses About What to Expect for the Future

Finally, the Bible tells us what to expect for the future as believers in Christ.

  1. Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  1. James 1:12

God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

  1. Galatians 6:9

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

  1. Proverbs 19:21

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

  1. Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Getting Your New Year Off to a Good Start

The best way to start the new year is with Jesus. Take some time to reflect on the past year, ask God for specific Scriptures to believe for the new year, and meditate on His faithfulness and promises. Remember–January 1st can be a fresh start and an exciting new beginning.

Article written by: Kelsey Yarnell

Article taken from here.

4 Ways to Win Between Christmas and New Year’s Day

4 Ways to Win Between Christmas and New Year’s Day

4 Ways to Win Between Christmas and New Year’s Day

In the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, consider these four ways to refresh from a hectic ministry year.

Every job has its perks. Netflix doesn’t track vacation hours. Facebook has nap pods. Ben & Jerry’s rewards its employees with three pints of ice cream every day. And if you’re a ministry leader, most likely you get the week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. (Hey, we’re not drawing comparisons here, just stating facts!)


The weeks leading up to Christmas can be some of the most joyful and impactful of our ministry careers. We often get a front-row seat to the radical generosity of our faith communities. We hear and celebrate stories of life change. On the other hand, these weeks are also some of the toughest on our minds, bodies, and families. After all the planning meetings, shopping, decorating, video shoots, rehearsals and services are finally complete, the seven days between Christmas and New Years are a welcome reprieve from the hustle. And while you may immediately begin to feel the urgency of the Spring calendar around the corner, remember that this week offers you some unique opportunities to grow as a leader (and a human) more than any other week throughout the year.


After a season of commitments to your ministry, here are four commitments you might consider making to yourself on the morning of December 26th.


1. Rest


Set your away message. Delete the Mail app from your phone. Disconnect in all the ways you have to and truly rest. Christmas services have likely emptied your tank, so find ways to refuel your mind and body in the ways you need most. Sleep, read fiction, laugh, go on a nature walk, eat three pints of ice cream, build a nap pod and then sleep some more. Find the ways that rejuvenate your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual ecosystem, and make a plan to give those things focused attention this week. As we’ve learned from our friend Candi Shelton, “Our leadership and ministry actually thrive when we are connected to the experience of being human.”


Read: Why Rest Matters for Human Leaders


2. Play


Discover ways to inject some fun into this week. In my own life, I’ve found that the moments I have been most exhausted or weary have also been the moments I’ve been completely disconnected from the unique things that give me life. This week, ask yourself, “What brings me joy?” and commit to making it happen. It might be pursuing something creative like art, dance, or scrapbooking, binge-watching your favorite movies from when you were a kid or planning an outdoor adventure with friends or family. See how much more inspired you’ll be to return to work when you’ve awakened your innate drive for play.


3. Learn


Leaders are learners. And, if we’re not intentional, ministry has a special way of keeping you working in it instead of on it. Consider carving out one day this particular week to learn about a subject you feel like you never have time for – work-related or non! Read a few chapters from your favorite author on leadership, find that podcast you saved ages ago, or review notes from a conference and create some action steps. You may also want to use this time to research and plan some time for individual or group learning next year. Think through book studies or online courses (like those from Orange Masterclass) that you may want to lead with your team or set new ministry goals based on learning from the past year utilizing tools like the Orange Assessment.




Lastly, this week offers the perfect opportunity to practice the art of remembering.


“Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced” (1 Chronicles 16:12 NIV).


Take the time to reflect on the goodness of God throughout 2022. Note the highs, lows, your greatest lessons, and dream of how you want to grow and move forward as a leader next year. Worship is remembering! Personally, my favorite tool to use is called the Great Annual Examen. It is derived from a 400-year-old method of prayer by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Developed by Stephen W. Smith, it’s a simple question-and-answer exercise that invites you to review five categories of health – physical, emotional, vocational, relational, and spiritual – and then guides you through a process of thinking through how those may be improved or restored in the new year.


Win the week between Christmas and New Years and give yourself the greatest chance to enter 2023 with the strength and mental clarity necessary to reach the next generation.

Article written by: Daniel De Jesús

Article taken from here.

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How to Plan Your Church Calendar A Year in Advance


How to Plan Your Church Calendar A Year in Advance

New year, new you! Ok, maybe not a completely new you. But January 1st offers a fresh opportunity to set your church calendar up for success in the new year. Building out an entire calendar advance can feel intimidating, but it can help reduce overwhelm and scrambling later on in the year. Looking at your content from a bird’s eye view can also help you avoid obvious holes or redundancies in your focus, so you can have a balanced and holistic array of events and series throughout the year. While I can’t help you plan your calendar, I can provide some helpful tips for getting started in the planning process this new year:

Map out your big events.

While every year is different, calling for fresh vision and ideas, the church calendar follows particular rhythms that repeat year in and year out. Holidays like Easter and Advent occur at the same time each year. Seasonal events like Fall Kick Off and New Years Series do, too. Don’t forget favorite events like women’s or men’s retreats, vacation bible school, or Giving Tuesday. Use these annual events and recurring series to anchor your calendar. Once you have them in place, you can identify the white space around them to fill out the rest of your calendar.

Identify “felt needs”.

With big holidays and seasonal events accounted for, you can begin to fill the rest of the year with additional series. Here is where you have more leeway to customize the content to what is relevant to your particular congregation, right here and right now. If you don’t have this insight already, check the pulse of your people. What things are they struggling with? How do they want to grow? What makes them curious? What themes are emerging in conversations and small groups studies again and again? Use these things to inform the series and events that will populate the rest of your calendar.

Iron out your workload and budget.

With your events and series scheduled in advance, you can begin to identify the workload and budget required to pull them off. If you start with your budget for the entire year, you can allot resources and volunteers to each event accordingly, making sure nothing falls through the cracks. Even though you aren’t at the place to plan each event in detail on January 1st, having an idea of the resources required will help jumpstart your planning when the time arises and ensure you have the things you need in place when it does come around.

The team at Motion Worship is praying for your inspiration and vision as you lead your congregation into this new year. With a little bit of effort and intention, you can set up your calendar to serve and support you during the year so you can spend less time scrambling and more time being present with your people. We pray that God’s spirit will be with you and your staff, guiding you as you craft an intentional and edifying calendar of events for this new year.

Article written by: Emma Tarp

Article taken from here.

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5 Things Executive Pastors Should Keep in Mind This Christmas

5 Things Executive Pastors Should Keep in Mind This Christmas

5 Things Executive Pastors Should Keep in Mind This Christmas

It’s no secret that Christmas can be a chaotic time for churches. It’s one of the most highly-attended seasons of the year—and you can expect a lot more unchurched people than usual. Christmas services are also a celebration of one of the greatest moments in history: When God made His dwelling among us (John 1:14).

Everyone and everything in your church needs to fire on all cylinders.

You’ve probably spent months preparing for this one weekend. You might’ve even started preparing a year ago! And on some level, you’re probably feeling pressure to out-do last year’s service. (Maybe church members or even staff are “reminiscing” about something awesome you’ve done in the past.)

As the executive pastor, you’re responsible for organizing, budgeting for, and foreseeing the challenges of your church’s biggest events. So there’s a lot on your shoulders during the holidays. We want to be sure your Christmas service goes off without a hitch and builds momentum as you head into the new year—so we put together five things you should keep in mind this Christmas.

1. Tis’ the season for burnout

You’re not the only one feeling the pressure right now. Many of your staff members are working under a lot more stress than usual. They might be wrestling with performance anxiety as their area of responsibility increases, or their routine tasks start affecting more people and other parts of the service. Every person on your paid and volunteer staff is more susceptible to burnout right now—and that means a few things for you.

Your church needs to be prepared for people to take time off when the holidays are over. Your team needs to rest. Even if people aren’t planning to take time off, you should encourage it. Make arrangements to cover roles, shift responsibilities, and potentially stagger time off so that everyone can get the rest they need.

It’s also important that you create (and model) an environment where people can feel comfortable talking about fatigue and stress—not so they can complain, but so that you can give them the prayer and support they need to make it through this time.

You should always affirm people when they do a good job, but now is a good time to make a point of hunting for things you can praise people for. Encourage your staff to do the same, and create a positive atmosphere that brings out the best in each other.

2. A tech failure will cost you more right now

You carefully budgeted for the entire year, taking into account any purchases you would need to make later in the year. But software and hardware don’t always follow our budget plans. Throughout the year it’s easy to take half-measures and “make do” with what you have to get a few more services out of your tech. If something goes wrong during a Christmas service though, it has a much bigger impact.

Your congregation has high hopes for this service, but they’ll be more forgiving when there are technical issues (although they may be a little embarrassed if they brought friends or family). But visitors are seeing your church for the first time. Making a good impression matters.

If you do purchase new tech for Christmas, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to test it out—ideally in an actual service (or several). But at the very least, you need to have backup plans ready for every possibility. As you set up for Christmas, you should constantly ask: “What will we do if this breaks? And who will be in charge of implementing the solution?”

3. This is the best time to start planning for next Christmas

At this point, there are some poor decisions, unforeseen challenges, and organizational issues you may just have to live with this year. But every time you find yourself saying, “I wish we’d thought of that earlier,” make a note of it. Now is the perfect time to build a list of things you want to stay on top of next year—then you can think of those things earlier.

4. Your giving platform is about to have a lot more transactions

During the holidays, generosity isn’t just a Christian mandate—it’s simply part of the “Christmas spirit.” People have been culturally trained to strive to be more open-handed during this time of year. And you’re going to have a lot more people in attendance than usual. So whether you make a big giving push or not, more people are going to give.

Digital giving is the most convenient way for people to give—especially if they didn’t bring cash or their checkbook. But it’s important to keep in mind: just as you had to prepare your facility to handle more people, you need to be sure your giving platform can accommodate more transactions.

Your giving solution might be fine as is. Or you may need to find a more reliable (or faster) online giving platform. Make sure you contact your customer support team to confirm your giving software can handle a sudden increase in activity.

(Pushpay is an enterprise-grade giving solution. Many of the largest churches in the US trust Pushpay for all their online giving needs. So we can support you, too.)

5. Volunteer training matters even more right now

Christmas is one of those seasons where churches desperately need anyone and everyone who’s willing to serve. Even churches that have well-defined volunteer training and onboarding processes may make exceptions at this time of year simply to make sure there are enough bodies on every service team.

But this isn’t an area you can cut corners. Your volunteers are going to be under more pressure than usual. Their familiarity with your procedures, their tasks, and the larger purpose of their role could make the difference between a visitor feeling valued and feeling neglected. Not to mention, flustered or unconfident volunteers in, say, the nursery, will leave parents feeling like they can’t trust your church to adequately care for their children.

Make this your best Christmas yet

As you scramble to make sure everything goes according to plan, it’s easy for little things to fall through the cracks. Take the time to support your staff and check-in on their mental health. Create backup plans. Save your future self some trouble next year with good notes. And make sure everyone and everything is ready to serve your community with excellence.

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