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A new year is a chance for a fresh start! We reflect on where we’ve been and look hopefully to what’s ahead. Some of us set specific goals or make New Year’s resolutions. Others of us would rather not. 

Recently I’ve noticed a trend in which people are choosing a theme word, or couple of words, to focus on throughout the entire year. On social media and in blog posts, people are sharing the words they’ve selected to help them live more intentionally in the upcoming year. Just a few of the words that I have come across include: 

  • Trust
  • Create
  • Generous  
  • Brave 

I see a few potential benefits of focusing on a word or theme for the year, such as: 

  • Easier to remember. Reminders could be placed in the car, on your desk at work, or on a bathroom mirror.
  • Creativity. Choosing a word provides a narrow focus but it leaves room for creativity in meeting the goal. For example, one person might select the word "generous" and intend to be more free with the time that they give to church, family, community, self, etc. For someone else the word "generous" might literally be the need to find joy in giving financially.
  • Spiritual Growth. By asking God to help you grow in a specific way (and taking steps towards that growth) there is potential for powerful spiritual transformation. 

I wonder, have you noticed this trend of selecting a theme word for the year? Is this something you have done or would consider doing? If so, I'd love to hear what word you are focusing on in 2016. 

In addition, what are the potential challenges in staying accountable? What are the benefits? 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! 


I've been preaching on this for a few years now.

2014 was "Home," and was the year we moved to Colorado.

2015 was "Launch" as we worked to get Apex Church Started.

This year I was able to preach on this, and share my word for 2016,


"And the LORD added to their number daily those who were being saved." Acts 2:47

For this year I chose I Peter 1:15/16 "holy", a word that has not only been removed from the secular word bank (other than the occasional 'holy cow', 'holy smoke') but also limited to defining God by the Christian community. None-the-less, it is presented by the Apostle Peter as front and center in defining the church, its members and how we are to live in "all" things.

Jim Poelman


My husband and I have had several friends and a family member pass away in the past month.  I received a card from one of my friends before he died, the front of the card is displayed at my workstation and says "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice!"  God has given me this same word before to meditate on and use for comfort.  Focus words aren't usually given to me on New Year's day as much as in life events.  

So many words come at us in one day, it's nice to rest in just one word for a moment.  

Thanks, Laura! I must admit I don't use this word often but how powerful to rejoice in the Lord (even during the most difficult times). 

At Hope Fellowship Church, we just finished an Advent Sermon series on the "Five Flawed but Faithful Women in the Genealogy of Jesus".  Our pastor is big on alliteration :).  So our word for 2016 is Faithful.

Why? That's not a question-it's my theme word for 2016. (Actually, grandchild is my first theme word!) I sat through a great motivational talk in December where the speaker addressed the importance of asking myself, and challenging my team to ask, the "why" question. Why do we work? Why do we do anything we do? It was a good thought starter that has led me to some more reading and thinking. I will conclude this post with a quote from the speaker: You will lose your way when you lose your why!

"Flourishing"  (Based on Psalm 92:12-15)

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; 13 planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. 15 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”


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