In less than 12 hours, 2014 will come to a close. I’ll never forget this year. It was filled with both incredible difficulty and great joy/triumph.

2014 began with me sitting in a pretty difficult staffing position at my church. I had two full time positions and two part time positions still to fill. Fortunately, I had actually made connections with all the people who would fill these positions – even though it would take almost six more months to fill every position.

In addition to trying to get the staff positions filled, I felt like I was fighting to find the voice for kids, students and families at my church. As a leadership team, we had agreed that developing highly relevant ministries for kids, students and families was one of the top three priorities at Gateway, but very little had been done since the decision was made. I cried a lot of tears in 2014, both personally and in my managers office (no shame here). However, the struggle was worth it as I’ve seen 2014 as one of the most rewarding and productive years for ministry in all my life. As a bonus, I think that this year was one of the best years for my family as well. I’ll never forget the two weeks I got to spend with my family exploring South West Texas over Spring Break and the month long vacation we took in July. What an amazing year.

As the year wraps up, here are the things I’m grateful for in 2014:

  • Adding incredible staff to my team: Early Childhood Director, Elementary Director, Elementary Large Group Director and Early Childhood Large Group Director
  • Opening a newly remodeled Elementary Large Group Space to communicate truth to Elementary kids in a highly fun and relevant way
  • Opening a newly remodeled lobby to our kid’s building that really captures attention
  • Pulling off our first NextGen Winter Camp with nearly 300  kids, student (3rd-12th Grade) and leaders
  • Taking nearly 150 kids, students (3rd-12th Grade) and leaders on GO!Teams to 6 locations around the state, country and world
  • Nearly doubling our NextGen volunteer base (it’s taken closer to 18 months and we should hit the magic number by the middle of February – but I’m celebrating it in this post because of the amazing efforts we made this year)
  • Hosting our first Family Experience on Good Friday with nearly 1000 in attendance
  • Hosting a Christmas Family Experience during four services will well over 3000 in attendance
  • Hosting a Back to School family BBQ where parents and small group leaders could meet – over 800 in attendance

Interesting how the year could be so challenging and frustrating, but also produce some of the biggest wins of my ministry career. Here’s the most interesting part. I really feel like we’re just getting started. It took me almost six years to build my dream team at Gateway. They’re high performers and we’ve got some pretty amazing things in the works. So, here’s to 2014. I’ll never forget it – but I can’t wait for all that 2015 has in store!