The secret of New Year’s celebration for church leaders


Here’s a simple secret to celebrating the end of 2014 and 2015: just do it. You don’t have to throw a party or even attend one to celebrate tonight and tomorrow.

Simply follow this easy process:

For introverts: sit down for four minutes. In the first two minutes, as fast as you can, write 20 items you can celebrate about 2014. Do it with a pen if you can. Writing by hand makes more connections in your brain, and you want to reinforce celebration. Include items from your own and your church’s ministry as well as those in your personal life.

Then take two more minutes and write down 20 items you celebrate about the possibility that is 2015.

For extraverts: Take four minutes and follow the process above, then grab someone and share your list with them.

Here are five things from each of my own lists:


  1. The launch of my book, Money and Your Ministry.
  2. Breakthroughs and greater freedom in my own relationship with money.
  3. My father is still alive at 91.
  4. Restrung the jade necklace my husband gave me over 30 years ago so I can wear it.
  5. The blessing of supporting clergy in developing themselves and their leadership.

Coming in 2015:

  1. Celebrating 35 years of marriage with Karl, my best friend and biggest fan.
  2. The chance to contribute to other church leaders through my writing, speaking, consulting and coaching.
  3. More wonderful books to read, both fiction (mostly) and nonfiction. (Some of them are already sitting beside my bed.)
  4. Taking an improv class.
  5. Connecting with others around the world (including you) about ministry matters in person and virtually.

Celebration is a spiritual practice. Richard Foster highlights celebration as the last of his spiritual disciplines, and says, “Celebration brings joy into life, and joy makes us strong.” (Celebration of Discipline, p. 191) I know no better way to prepare for a new year.

What are you celebrating for 2014 and 2015? Let me know!

2 replies on “The secret of New Year’s celebration for church leaders

  • Melinda Wagner

    Happy New Year, Margaret! I just wanted to say thank you for continuing to share these helpful insights with us. You can be sure we’re listening, and learning, even when we’re too busy or distracted to respond. Our clergy group especially appreciated your Advent and Christmas advice, and I’m sure our families and congregations benefited in untold ways. God bless, Melinda

  • Kay Johnson

    Dear Margaret,
    Thank you for your articles. Even though I am “retired” I still enjoy what you have to say and some apply even to a retired pastor. Your “Celebration” article was especially appropriate. With the world in such sad shape there is still reason to celebrate.
    Keep up the good work!

    Blessings in 2015,
    Kay Johnson
    Ft Worth, TX


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