This 2016 in review needs to begin with massive thanks to Lyndal, my wife, best friend and blog editor. Those couple of posts you read this year and thought the grammar, spelling and flow are rubbish in this post compared to the others – yep they weren’t proofed by Lyndal. Thanks, hun, I couldn’t do what I do without you!
Paul Sohn is a leadership blogger who offered the following questions up for reflection. Last year I did this as 2015 came to a close, so I thought I’d do it again. If you want to see what I wrote you can find it here.
Here’s my 2016 in review:
1. What activities made you lose track of time?
This year more so than any other year showed me how every minute has needed to count.
2. What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Honestly, nothing. I am, however, privileged to lead an amazing team as we start up a new church. I’ve also published two more books this year: How To Create The Organisational Culture You Want and How To Write a Book From Scratch.
3. Which area(s) did you thrive in across your life?
Self-Reflecting. That sounds so strange, but I think I have the most accurate understanding of myself, my strengths and weaknesses than I’ve ever had.
4. Which area(s) did you struggle in?
My plan was to post twice a week to this blog, which turned out to be an unsustainable rate. Of late when my site crashed and a variety of other things consumed my time I lapsed on this intention. Being creative and helpful and consistent is quite the demand.
5. If someone wrote a book about your life this past year, what kind of genre would it be?
A documentary or maybe a drama. It’s felt like there have been so many twists and turns, but if I were to tell you the stories, you’d likely yawn and look for an escape hatch. If you could document what my kids do, it’d be an epic comedy, though.
6. Where and how did God work in your life this past year?
Unbelievably: I have seen God answer so many ridiculous prayers and show himself ever faithful. My learning is that when you step away from the security of what you’ve always known you discover your security in God.
7. If you had to describe your 2016 in 3 words, what would they be?
Challenging, challenging, challenging.
We had a baby boy, I finished my Masters, ran a marathon and we’re planting a church.
8. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
Confident. Despite doubts, anxieties, pressure and many unforeseen factors I’ve felt confident, more so in God than in anything or anyone else, and more so than ever before.
9. What three books have had the greatest influence on you this past year?
The Starfish and The Spider by Rod A. Beckstrom and Ori Brafman
This business book is an absolute game changer when it comes to how the church can adapt to the demands of a changing culture. Regardless of who you are and what you do, this book will help you do what you want to do more fluently and informed.
Simple Church by Thom S Rainer and Eric Geiger
The best book I’ve read on how to develop disciples in the local church.
Everyday Supernatural by Mike Pilavachi and Andy Croft
This book was a breath of fresh air spiritually. Mike is a legend and getting to know him this year has been an honour.
10. What was your favourite place you visited in 2016?
Burleigh, Gold Coast, Australia!
11. What was your single biggest time waster this past year?
Probably Netflix, but I use it more to wind down so I don’t think it is strictly time wasting.
12. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Listening to people and wrestling with my kids.
13. What, or who, are you most thankful for?
Jesus, Lyndal, Zari and Hamish. Plus those who are with me on the church plant team, the staff at Newlife, my 12two family who I will miss enormously, and you my readers who care about me and encourage me.
14. What advice would you give your early-2016 self if you could?
This year will test you, and reveal to you more about you than you previously knew. It will be hard as well as fruitful but know that God is always one step ahead of you. You need not worry about anything, instead stay concerned about the things God is concerned about.
15. What one thing would you do differently and why?
I’d increase stricter self-imposed boundaries between work and everything else. I’ve been trying this the last couple of months and it’s so enjoyable.
16. What did you think about more than anything else?
People who don’t know Jesus and how they matter more to God than anyone else.
17. What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
Church planting, business, finance, authorship and entrepreneurialism.
18. How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I think I moved from a space where life was pretty cruisey, to the opposite end of the spectrum. With Hamish being so sick for so long, training for and running a marathon, finishing up in my current job and stepping into the uncertainty of next year, things have changed considerably!
19. What was your favourite compliment that you received this year?
Thirty-three people joining Lyndal and I to start a new church next year. If that’s not complimentary to what God is doing in our lives I don’t know what is.
20. What was the most important lesson you learned in 2015?
In leadership you are vulnerable. Understanding those vulnerabilities and guarding against them will result in serving those God entrusts you to lead so much better.