By Natalie Bannon, United Methodist Communications
As we begin 2015, New Year's resolutions are top of mind for a lot of people. While church members and visitors are making theirs, let's check out ways you can connect with them on their journey to keep some of the most common resolutions.
Create an exercise group for those who resolve to get fit or lose weight. Encourage and motivate each other by meeting regularly for a fitness class or to walk. "Having a friend, spouse or partner to walk with us in both our physical and spiritual journey keeps us focused and committed to our goals, all while providing Christian love and support," the Rev. John Wagner told the United Methodist News Service earlier this year. The Rev. Wagner is from First United Methodist of Ankeny, Iowa where a fitness program has also helped served as a welcoming ministry. Read more to get ideas.
According to research, one of the most common New Year's resolutions for 2014 was volunteering to help others. Service opportunities are the perfect way to connect not only with church members, but also with the rest of your community. Get free tips and resources to Rethink Church through organizing outreach events at umcom.org/rethinkchurch. United Methodist Communications also offers partnership grants for United Methodist districts, conferences and clustered churches that are holding a Rethink Church event in their community. Learn more.
Many congregants will resolve to pray more and make additional time to read the Bible. Consider starting a small group to encourage each other to keep this resolution. Intentional time to grow your spiritual life can also help manage stress. Earlier this year, the Rev. Talbot Davis from Good Shepherd United Methodist Church offered commentary for reading the Bible and how to utilize it as a library instead of a book.
Another resolution people often make is to improve their work lives through new career opportunities. Consider creating a job ministry like the one at Roswell United Methodist Church. Their job networking coordinator, Katherine Simons, offers advice for churches of all sizes to start their own program. Click here to find out how.