Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing, and perfect will.
I believe people should start new EVERY DAY and not every year but if members of your congregation are going to make New Year's resolutions anyway, and I'm pretty sure they will, why not encourage them to make some that have less to do with their physical life and more to do with their spiritual life. When we focus more on Jesus and others we feel better about ourselves and the pressures of the world become less important. Simply stated, when we have greater inner peace, we'll have greater outer peace.
I'm told that it takes at least a month to change a habit so it sure wouldn't hurt for the congregation as a whole to try something like a 100 day challenge but be sure that when you bring up any resolutions that you remind them that if they really want something to change it might take more than just a week. You can create a list of ideas to put in the bulletin or on your website. Here are a few ideas to get you going.
- Focus more on what we have than what we don't have by cultivating an attitude of gratitude through keeping a simple gratitude journal and regularly thanking God for those gifts.
- Get in the habit of praying for others before you pray for yourself.
- Start taking prayer walks through the neighborhood either alone or with the family.
- Start a prayer chain or prayer schedule where different ministries and their leaders are prayed for on a rotating basis.
- If you don't have a regular time that you talk to God, start praying at the same time everyday.
- Turn off the car radio and use that time to pray, ponder God and life and all their wonders.
- Reach out in a friendly way to others by cultivating a servant attitude through allowing congregational members to participate in visiting shut-ins or those in nursing homes or the hospital. It's amazing what a smiling face can do!
- We often forget to READ the Bible!! Make a resolution to read one chapter every night before you go to bed or right when you wake up in the morning. It takes just a few minutes!
- The music we listen to and the movies or tv shows we watch can have a profound effect on how we determine right or wrong. Choose one thing you know you need to change and substitute something more positive in its place.
- Put your spiritual life first in at least one area: prayer, worship, study or reading, or service.
Encourage your congregation to resolve to make Jesus an active part of their lives!!