Thursday, January 01, 2015

One Word 365: Venture

At the beginning of 2014, I discovered a different take on making New Years resolutions called One Word 365. This was thanks to Katherine Willis Pershey, who has been doing this for a few years now.

The basic gist of One Word 365 is that you try to live according to a single word for the entire year, as opposed to a whole list of good intentions. At the beginning of last year, for instance, I chose the word "Share:"
I was very drawn into myself in 2013. I could really trace it further back than that, but due to all the transition, some strong natural tendencies, and some stuff I was processing related to some ministry experiences at my previous stop, I was very much in a spiritual cocoon for much of the year. The positive moments came when I picked up the phone and reached out to people, whether to talk over some of the stuff I needed to get through my system, to catch up, or just to get out for a night. 
On top of that, it took me needing to tell people I needed to talk; they weren't going to read my mind. Being able to share a Five Iron Frenzy concert with an old friend was good for my soul. Even sharing books off of my bookshelf with people whom I thought would enjoy them was important for me to do. 
So, the seeds are planted. Now for this year, I plan to nurture it further, to share myself more with others in a way that I really haven't for a long time. 
So this is my word for 2014: share. To share more of who I am, what I need, and what I have.
Before I go any further, I should probably tell you that Share went...okay. I started the year with a Grand Plan, and it went well for quite a while. During Lent, I took on the discipline of communicating/reaching out to someone every day via phone calls, texts, or social media messages (Facebook birthday greetings didn't count). This part went well. I was regularly in touch with good friends and relatives, and it was a great experience of connecting or re-connecting with loved ones.

After that, I had a plan to have a big giveaway of books I didn't want any more during the summer months, which never happened. I did give away a few individual volumes to people, but I never got beyond that. The fall picked up a little, as I reached out to a few newer pastors in the area after realizing that all my usual local sources of collegial support had moved on. There's some great potential for deeper relationships here, and I'm quite excited for the future in that sense.

So, in summation: it could have been better, but it at least got the ball rolling in getting me out of my self-imposed shell and there are great prospects for continuing along the path I started.

My word for 2015 has been taking shape for a few months now, due to a couple factors:

  • A book I reviewed a few months ago entitled Made in the USA, detailing the plague of human trafficking in this country, which caused me to consider how I could get more involved in this important justice issue, even if it would be an incredible leap outside my comfort zone.
  • An article by Carol Howard Merritt about pastors intentionally doing work and making connections outside the church, and how transformative it can be for ministry.
  • A general restlessness to get out and do stuff: play an open mic, join a Friday night round of Magic: The Gathering, whatever.
All of these things together inspired my word for the new year:


At least once a month, I plan to venture out to do...something. Anything. I could call up a friend for coffee or drinks. I could more actively participate in a justice cause that I care about. I could be more intentional about making connections in the community of which my church is a part. I could play my guitar on a stage somewhere. Whatever the particulars, I'd be venturing out to just be a bigger part of the world beyond the walls of home and church. Consider it the logical next step of Share.

Ideally, this would happen much more often than once a month, but that's the absolute basement-level requirement.

For my continued development as a person and as a pastor, I need to venture. So I shall.