Stay {2014}

Leadership //

happy new year! i hope these holidays brought love + connection for you. we had a lovely time with family and friends along with loads of rest, all of which were thoroughly needed. 2013 was a big year–so many highs and massive lows, and holidays spent with loved ones was just what we needed.

each new year’s eve, my dad does a year-end survey, and this year as we were all gathered together, reflecting on our surveys, i was caught by surprise once again at the amount of main events our family had experienced over the year: several deaths in the family, new jobs, illnesses, baby’s birth, house moves, and big anniversaries. i’m thankful god’s presence was very near.

i’m looking forward to a new year. a year filled with new opportunities in leadership and ministry. today, my heart and mind are filled with dreams and great anticipation — that this year will be the best, and i’ll lead and serve and create in ways that are deeply helpful for others and satisfying for myself. along with the anticipation, i’m nervous — that i’ll make the same mistakes and that i’ll lean too easily into familiar patterns of hiding in moments of insecurity.

i want this year to be different. for so many reasons. i’ve grown and morphed a bit more into my true self this past year, and i want to lead and act differently because of my growth. i want this to be the year that all of my experiences, passions, talents, and learnings come together. {is this too 7 of me?} i want this year, finally, to be the one in which i apply lessons learned from both mistakes and accomplishments, and become truly who i was created to be from the very beginning.

i’ve determined my resolve, or my word, my guiding value for 2014 is STAY.

to stay in each moment, to not get scared when the moments are tough, and equally, not get scared when the moments are too good and too rich, to instead be in touch with my feelings and then act authentically and consistently with those feelings. to be really present.

to stay in conversations, especially when i’m unsure or lacking confidence, to speak truth, to give honest praise, and really, to not shrink back or puff up. to listen well by staying in conversations.

to stay in leadership, when it’s fresh and new and exciting, and when it’s old and stale and routine, both celebrating and correcting, being unafraid of imperfections or victories.

to find beauty in the staying.

to stay in friendships, growing deeper in community. to take risks, be vulnerable, share life. to place a higher value on friendship, by working and fighting for those i love. because this year, i believe, it’s in the staying that i’ll find the deep joy of being known and loved.

stay. 2014. cheers, hopes and prayers to finding new life in the near year.

and you? what one word describes your hope for the new year? 





About the Author

Amy Dolan is founder, leader and blogger for Lemon Lime Kids, a children’s ministry consulting company that seeks to encourage churches to consider a fresh approach to leading and teaching children. Amy started the company in 2005, as a way to empower and encourage fellow children’s ministry leaders, and since that first day has had the opportunity to work with leaders & organizations committed to the spiritual growth of children. Amy believes that the church fully empowered, combined with the commitment of the family, and the compassion of the community has the power to inspire children’s faith for a lifetime. In addition to her consulting work with Lemon Lime Kids, Amy leads the strategic curriculum development for Phil Vischer’s new curriculum What’s in the Bible? (, and serves as Director of LOCAL, a Chicago-area children’s ministry collaborative ( Amy is the former Executive Director for Children’s Ministry at the Willow Creek Association, a former Children’s Ministry Director at The Chapel in Libertyville, IL and a Curriculum Writer for Promiseland at Willow Creek in South Barrington. Amy is proud to be married to her husband Kelly, and loves living in Chicago. Amy blogs at and tweets at @adolan.