Several years ago, my greatest mentor in leadership, Scotty Sanders shared how he had chosen one single word to signify what he felt God was going to teach him and grow him in the year to come. About four years ago, a good friend of mine brought up that their pastor had challenged their staff to do the same thing. After my friend and I had talked about that, I remembered Scotty’s challenge and how he said that it helped to laser focus his energy and what God had called him to.

Four years ago, I chose my first “one word”. It was “worthy”. I’m about to get very nerdy so just bear with me. If you are familiar at all with the Marvel movies that have come out in recent years, there is a character named Thor. Thor has a powerful hammer named Mjolnir. Here’s the catch about his hammer…he’s the only one in all the universe that can lift it. Why? Because he is the only one “worthy” to lift it. Four years ago, marked my one year anniversary at Fellowship of the Parks. It also marked the year that I became a dad. My thinking was this, if being a dad, a husband, a pastor, a worship leader, if all those things represented the hammer there were so many days that I would be absolutely unworthy to pick up that hammer.

Throughout that year, God taught me that ultimately I was not worthy. It is only by his loving grace and mercy that I am allowed the privilege to be a dad, husband, pastor, worship leader, and so on. It is only through his love and strength that I may be found “worthy” to lift the hammer of those roles.

So…why did I just tell you all of that? Here’s why…and don’t miss this…personal growth and development is important. We are all leaders in some way or another and have been blessed by God with talents and gifts that we must be good stewards of. It’s important that we have a plan to grow and refine those gifts and talents. Even having “no plan” is still a plan…it’s just the worst one.

Here is where I want to challenge you. Take a small step in your personal development and ask God to give you “one word” for 2016. Pray that he would show you and give you a sense of direction in your life this year. Ask him that he would reveal to you a glimpse of how he will help you grow in your walk with him and in the amazing adventure of being a follower of Christ. When the answer for your “word” comes (and it will) write it down and share it with someone. Let the God use that word to laser focus your energy and actions in growing and developing as a Christ follower and as a leader.

My word for this year is “forge”. FORGE – To form or make, especially by concentrated effort. To move ahead with increased speed and effectiveness. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, we read, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirt.”  I believe that the Lord is leading me into a year of growing in my leadership and growing in the knowledge of the Bible through our LifeGroups and personal study.

I am excited for our journey of personal and spiritual development as we embark on it together. If you’re comfortable with it, please share the word that God has given you for 2016 in the comments or on social media encouraging others to do the same. Really looking forward to all God is calling us to as individuals, as a church, and as His people.