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Start the New Ministry Year off Right…

Start the New Ministry Year off Right…

Start Right by Looking Back

Intentionality is such an important piece of the Christian life. Without it, you can easily find yourself adrift. Coming out of the busyness of the Christmas Ministry season, the beginning of the New Year can feel like we’re just trying to catch our breath. In the effort to “catch up”, we can find ourselves moving mindlessly into the new year. I want to introduce you to a practice that I have engaged in the last five years that helps me be intentional about my life with God.


As you enter into a new year, it may prove helpful to take some time and notice what the last year has held for you, to invite God to show you what you may have missed. It’s called a Grand Examen. In this exercise, using your calendar and your journal, you will look back on the events of 2014 in a very intentional way.

But before you begin, take a few minutes and quiet yourself. Just spend five minutes being with God in silence. Ask him to guide this process for you.

The Grand Examen

When you feel ready to move on, begin to look over the last year. Start with last January and take note of significant things that happened – both positive and negative. Continue throughout the year, making a list. Once you’ve completed that, go back and look for the three or four things from the entire year that stand out to you the most. What do you notice about those events? Where did you have a sense of God’s presence with you? Or were there places where God seemed distant?

Then, look closely at the events… is there a theme or a thread that runs through them that might point to a larger work that God is doing in your life? Is there any connection between them? Do they seem to have any special meaning when you look at them together?


Finally, as you look over what God has done in the last year, is there anything to notice about what God may be inviting you to as you move into 2015? Does there seem to be path unfolding? This is not necessarily what your strategic plan is for 2015 but more what God may have in store for you; considering how you can more fully enter into the flow of what God is doing in your life.

Don’t dismiss the beauty of intentionality. You are the co-creator of your life with God – take it seriously.

And welcome to 2015!


Grace and peace,


Deb Turnow
Executive Director at Kavanna House
Deb Turnow is the Executive Director of Kavanna House, a spiritual formation center in York, Pa. Prior to that role, she was the Director of Spiritual Direction at Living Word Community Church in York. She has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from York College in Pennsylvania and a M.A. in Spiritual Formation and Leadership from Spring Arbor University. She is also a graduate of the Spiritual Guidance Program at Shalem Institute. She is currently studying at San Francisco Theological Seminary. She is a certified spiritual director and also provides supervision for spiritual directors. She and her husband Jeff, live in York, PA.