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Inspiration, Tools & Tips!                            DECEMBER 2021


How to Start Next Year Right

End this year poised for next year.

The end of the year came quickly, right? No, it came at the same time as it always does. It just seems like it was quick. Did you get everything done that you purposed to do? Did you have a plan that you followed, or did you just wing it? Now is the time for each of us to reflect on the year. We should look at our accomplishments and those things that fell a bit short. We should really think about how we’ve spent the year. With every ending, there is a beginning. As we reflect, we should try to learn from what happened, both from the good things and the not-so-good things.
 Did you change the way you handle the mistakes that were made by others? Are you extending the same courtesy to others that you want extended to you? Always remember if you are willing to acknowledge, correct and learn from mistakes, you can actually help others in your business, your church and just in your life, do the same. This month, we will talk about the need for financial planning. As you close out the year, taking a look at how you manage your finances is a great thing to do. 

Welcome back. Welcome back. Are you getting your finances in order as you prepare for the new year? If you don’t plan to succeed, you automatically plan to fail. With that in mind this month we are finishing strong. For me, the end of the year always triggers re-evaluation. If, like me, you had a plan last year. What went according to plan? What went wrong? What do you need to tweak? If you did not have a plan, hopefully you will consider creating one for next year. This month we talk about things you should do to close out the year with a good foundation for next year. 

 As I stated last month, each December we will deal with some aspect of strategic planning. Don’t make a new year’s resolution that you may not keep. Create a plan to help you reach your goals for the new year and beyond. 

I would like to thank everyone for walking with me this year. Also I do every month, thanks to everyone who reached out. I get more and more excited as I see what God is doing with and in my life. It is an honor and a pleasure to give you tips and help you learn from my successes and failures. Please stay subscribed to receive more information, success stories, tips, freebies and much more.

The new year is here in a couple of hours. You’ve been hard at work this year. You’ve made progress in some areas and not so much progress in others. You want to finish this year STRONG. And it is not too late. You want to know that you are not in the same place, in your business, in your personal life, spiritually, or financially, as you were in when you woke up on January 1, 2021.

You know what? No matter what happened in 2021, we ALL have the rest of today and beyond today if necessary, to use those tools to make 2022 better. And though there’s nothing magical about January 1st, how amazing will it feel to wake up on New Year’s Day, knowing that you have made plans to live a life that has you bursting with excitement? Here are 5 things you can do today:

1. Go ahead, look back. 
Say it with me and Socrates: “An unexamined life is not worth living.” It’s healthy to sit down and take stock of events and choices that led us to where we are in life now. Was there anything you could have done better? Are there self-destructive habits you need to let go of? When we look back, we not only take time to acknowledge our actions and learn from them; it also helps us notice certain situations, people, or patterns that may no longer serve us. 
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different.” (C. S. Lewis) 

 2. Highlight the successes. 
Though looking for ways to improve is a good thing, there is nothing wrong with giving ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done. Perhaps you were able to start the business of your dreams, get the promotion you wanted, change your outlook on life, marry, etc. this year. Perhaps you used the information from last month and started a small savings account or investment fund. Maybe you quit smoking or stuck to your gym regimen. No matter how trivial it may seem, personal successes and accomplishments are worth celebrating. 
“Celebrate your success and find humor in your failures.” (Sam Walton) 

3. Forgive yourself. 
This piece of advice is something I constantly have to remind myself to practice. I am my worst critic. It’s so easy to beat ourselves up for our so-called failures. So maybe you didn’t get the promotion you were expecting. Or maybe you feel like you didn’t work hard enough to achieve your goals. Perhaps a relationship you put so much energy into ended. Sometimes, we can be so kind to other people but so hard on ourselves. We are all perfectly flawed. If we don’t love and forgive ourselves despite our faults and flaws, we can become insensitive and critical to others because of their imperfections. 
Go back and read the newsletters from September and October  

4. Give thanks. 
Make a list of everything and everyone you are thankful for this year. Contact those you are thankful for and let them know how blessed you are to have them in your life. The habit of thankfulness is like a muscle that needs to be exercised. The more we focus on what we’re grateful for in life, the more we notice the abundance of blessings around us. 
“Happiness isn’t about getting what you want all the time. It’s about loving what you have and being grateful for it.” (Asher Roth) 

5. Celebrate! 
Take a moment to dance and shout! You are alive here and now, and the future is blazing in front of you. Shake it to the left for the 365 days you lived in 2021. Shake it to the right for the 365 days of newness up ahead. Let last year go and open your heart and mind in preparation for all the loving, learning, and living that’s in store for you in the new year! 
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) 

 Are you ready to commit to making a change your life? This is just an overview of what you should do. Each section has specific steps that will help you make a difference. 

There are area specific checklists in the  freebies this month you can use to help you plan the success of your new year. 



Business Application


Setting New Year's goals is not just for your personal life. As the business year has come to a close and you begin to make preparations for the following year, it's a good idea to take stock of what you are doing to maximize your business's growth. Here are five business ideas to start the New Year right.



Ministry Application

When the end of the year rolls around, everyone in the church world knows what to expect. We need to send the giving statements, draft the annual report, and cast the vision for the upcoming year. We’re so used to the year-end activities; they’ve almost become routine. 
However, we have not had a routine year in a couple of years. And for 




Personal Application 

When you look back at the end of the year, do you wonder where the time went. If you are like me, you want to be excited about what you have achieved , but you still have some regrets over what you did not accomplish. There are many things you could do at the end of the year to make next year go more smoothly. Here are some steps that I believe can 


Pamela Russell Ministry Information

Prayer Line 

Name:  “At God’s Door” 

Number: 951-981-7721, no passcode is needed.  

Time: 5:30- 6:00 a.m. EST, but you can log on earlier. 

Days: Sun-Sat, including holidays 

If you want to be a part of prayer, but its a bit too early for you. Please listen and be blessed. The recordings can be found here.

Additional Information: Online information about the prayer line 

Prayer Requests: Submit them here.   

The Current Devotional we are using:  “Teach My Hands to War” is ending today. The new devotional we sill use is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers.  You have access to the entire year. 

Please come and share with us.

We have put together a wonderful project to bring healing. 


You can listen to it here.   

Recently we were approved so you can now also listen to it or download it from You Tube.




Here are this month’s free business and ministry tools:

If you need any help with the checklist please contact me.



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It’s the end of the year. A time to not only reflect on the year you’ve had but to position yourself for success in the future. If you want to start the year right, you will reflect on the past year’s successes and failures and use those learnings as a jumping off point to even better things. Set some concrete goals, not resolutions that will be forgotten in a week. Use the steps in this newsletter across the categories to create your own plan and be successful next year. I’d love to hear how you start your year off right. Email me to get the conversation started.


If you have questions or need any assistance, email us.  You can also call us @ 904-830-0737. You can also set up a free consultation

"When we learn from our past, we don’t repeat our failures. We redefine our present and create a roadmap to an unlimited future.

- Dr. Pam Russell



MORE From Business Development 

1. Consider Your Incorporation Platform. 
The business year-end is a wonderful moment to reflect on your business organization or lack thereof. Are you incorporated correctly? Sole Proprietorship is the most common form for small businesses to take, but is it really the best choice for your business? As you prepare your tax forms, calculate how much you would have to pay if you were to convert your business to a corporation or an LLC. If you are considering incorporating, doing so with a January 1st effective date can make preparing your annual financial statements less complicated. You can get the help you need to incorporate your business. Just contact me

 2. Prepare Your Tax Paperwork. 
December is also a good time to reflect on your taxes in general. Consider taking time now to review your paperwork and iron out any issues that may arise with the Internal Revenue Service. Better yet, consult a tax advisor and see if you qualify for any additional deductions. Tax deductions are easy to miss and can save you money. 

3. Review Your Documentation. 
It's also a good idea to go through your business documentation and clean it up to start the year fresh. Remove old paperwork, correct mistakes, and make a list of any new licenses that you will need to apply for. When you return to business in the New Year, no matter what form your business takes, you'll know that your records are in good order (or well on their way to being corrected). 

4. Provide Feedback to Employees. 
Your employees are critical to the success of your company. Take some time at the end of the year to provide employee evaluations, so every team member knows where they stand and what you expect in the coming year. You should make sure you do them quarterly. However, if you do not do them quarterly, at least you should do them at the end of the year. Also, make sure you have the right documents in place with every employee. Those documents include, but are not limited to, employment agreements, a company employee handbook, and employee complaint forms. Keeping excellent records puts everyone on the same page, and it can also help you avoid the cost and hassle of employment disputes in the coming year. If you need evaluation templates, employee agreements, an employee handbook or any other documents for managing employees, please contact me

5. Set Goals for the Coming Year 
The end of the year is a natural time to reflect on, and analyze, your business. Assess whether or not the business is where you want it to be, its prospects for the future, and whether your current business practices are adequate. Use a S.W.O.T. analysis to help you get an accurate look at the business. As you reflect and analyze your business, you can set goals for the year to come. The end of the year is also the perfect time to prepare for changes, so that you can start the New Year with a relatively clean slate. The insight you will gain from this process is invaluable, and can mean the difference between success and failure. This information contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. Dr. Pam LLC is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney or law firm. The law is complex and changes often. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer.

Links to support resources can be found in the  Freebie Section


If you have questions or need any assistance, email us.  You can also call us @ 904-830-0737. You can also set up a free consultation here

MORE From Ministry Development

all that the churches/non-profits have had to change, make one more change. Transform the way your church does some of your typical year-end activities. The usual way won’t work anymore. It doesn’t serve anyone to pretend that 2020 and 2021 haven’t been financially, spiritually, and emotionally damaging for many people with losses of income, losses of loved ones, time in corporate worship, and feelings of hopelessness and longing for normalcy. As churches seek to move forward and bounce back from the lockdowns, the stakes feel higher. Making a few small-scale but impactful changes in the year-end efforts can make a tremendous impact for church leaders who are hoping to revitalize both finances and spirits. 

• Many churches begin their vision casting for the new year and remind the congregation of their mission through the annual report. This year’s annual report is a powerful venue to show people what hasn’t changed in 2021. Play that up majorly and don’t skimp on the details. Be clear about the way the church shifted gears and continued to do ministry. Identify the changes made earlier this year and how incredibly moving those changes were. Use the annual report to emphasize how you found ways to continue to serve your community, baptize people, bring in new members, etc. 
• Your annual report should do two things: share numbers and tell stories. When churches present annual reports during in-person services traditionally, many churches choose to have multiple people present and report on their ministry area. This can still happen in 2021. You don’t have to resort to sending out a PDF to share what God has done in your church this year and inspire people to participate. 
• Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to engage people through the annual report virtually and creatively. You can break the annual report sections up into smaller chunks for social media. Leverage the power of photos and videos, which helps the people who don’t want to read a long article digest the details. Ask ministry leaders to record short highlight videos. 
• You should track the following numbers on a regular basis. 
  • Attendance 
  • Giving 
  • Giving per person 
  • Spending by Percentage 
  • Seating Capacity 
  • Small group involvement 
  • Percentage Serving 
  • Percentage Participating in Church Activities 
  • Social Influence 
  • Staff Performance 

 #2 – Fundraising 
Churches tend to get a year-end financial bump since 31% of charitable giving happens in December. But this year, there are likely many churches relying on year-end generosity to close the major financial gaps that occurred during the lockdowns. Early in the pandemic, research showed that more than half of pastors reported that giving had decreased and 30% of those pastors said giving had decreased by at least 50%. Make a few intentional adjustments to make your church’s year-end fundraising efforts more compelling and effective. 
• Make it multichannel. Too many year-end fundraisers get a lot of in-service attention. However, often they are not mentioned anywhere else. Your church website is likely getting more traction than ever. If you did not do it this year, try focusing it primarily on fundraising next December? You could even use the first quarter of 2022. Don’t forget that social media, email, and traditional snail mail are all other tremendous opportunities to give year-end fundraising a big push outside of weekend services. 
• Make it easy. Evaluate your processes and make sure they’re as simple as possible for people. The easier you make it to give, serve, join a small group, etc., the more likely people are to participate. Most online giving platforms have a text-to-give option and a good number of them have services that make it easy to send text messages to remind people about the year-end fundraiser. 
• Dedicate a special day. Make it the same day like #GivingTuesday. A specific ask for a specific fundraising effort on a specific day gives people the details they need and prompts them to get in on a big, special day of giving alongside their church family. 
• Encourage non-traditional measures for a non-traditional year. People cleared out their closets and garages during quarantine so much that some Goodwill stores asked them to stop. Others reworked their financial assets, and some discovered valuables they plan to give away. Remind people they can give non-cash assets to the church too, such as stocks, real estate, and vehicles. 
• Go to your most engaged people. While it’s important to inspire those who don’t usually give or serve, it’s even more effective to reach out to the most engaged segments of your congregation. Research has shown nonprofit volunteers donate at twice the rate of those who don’t volunteer. And it makes sense—those who have already “bought-in” to the church’s mission and vision and show their commitment through their generosity in finances and service are likely to help meet year-end goals. The activity at the church already motivated them. 

 #3 – Vision Casting 
Church leaders use the phrase “casting vision” a lot. But what does it mean to cast a vision? It doesn’t mean to be preoccupied with numbers and ignore God’s direction. It’s simply setting a strategic vision for ministry, including goals and objectives, that serves God and the church’s overall mission. This year, transform your vision casting for the new year by expanding it. 
• Include your staff. 
  • Cast a vision that gives staff and volunteers clarity on their goals for next year. Help them get excited about their roles. 
  • Help the church leaders work with ministry leaders and volunteers to develop new ways for each ministry area to support the vision. 
  • Identify what the pandemic exposed in terms of strengths or weaknesses in ministry areas that the church needs more emphasis on or even a new strategy for. 
  • Work to identify which of next year’s church events and initiatives can help move the ministry toward the vision. Also, look at those events that are simply repetitious, but don’t move the ministry forward. 
 • Set ambitious goals. 
  • Don’t hesitate to enthusiastically share what you want the church to look like in 2022 even though this year didn’t turn out the way anyone expected. 
  • What do you want the church’s response to the pandemic to be going forward? 
  • What policies and procedures do you want to carry over into the new year and which ones to you want to stop or change? 
  • What would you do if you weren’t concerned that the new year will be “unprecedented” too? 
  • Assure the church your goals are not throwing all caution to the wind. They are simply putting aside fear and putting faith in a limitless God. 
 • Don’t leave anything out. 
  • Does your church send out a year-end letter? This year, let honesty and transparency mark your tone. 
  • Remember to mention the new vision and goals and tell people how they can help. 
  • Be honest about budget concerns. 
  • Thank everyone who gave, served, and attended in 2021 while also encouraging people to donate toward and participate in the future. 
Your year-end communications are an incredible opportunity to inspire people to share in the 2022 vision and sign up to be a part of it. 

While year-end fundraising and generosity can help churches finish the year financially stronger, it’s important to plan next year’s budget with a few things in mind. 
• Budget for new staff roles and expenses. The “new normal” for many churches will still include extra safety and sanitation measures which, of course, require extra money. 
• Budget based on this year’s reality. It’s fine to include space for a hopeful return to normal numbers, however, church financial experts can not give a definitive time when they expect giving to bounce back. Don’t budget based on last year’s numbers. 
• Budget to fill the gaps that 2020/21 created. Plan for new income and not just expenses. 
Based on numbers reported by many churches, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that giving won’t return to normal for a while. Don’t plan in fear, but don’t plan the same way as you were before the pandemic.

Links to support resources can be found in the Freebie Section



If you have questions or need any assistance, email us.  You can also call us @ 904-830-0737. You can also set up a free consultation

MORE From Personal Development

make it happen for you. It really is worth spending time to get these done, because you’ll feel much more confident going into the new year. I’d suggest adding some time into your journal/diary NOW so that you will get them done. Some are quicker than others, but they will all make a difference in their own way. 

This is a fairly big task, no doubt about it. However, even though it’s huge, I don’t think you will regret doing it. Get all your digital photos together, scan any greetings cards, artwork, letters etc., that you want to keep and have been given over the year . Then collate the very best memories into a gorgeous photo book to remember the year at a glance. This is such a fantastic way of remembering things, and it can be one of your family’s most treasured keepsakes. 

#2–SET UP A SYSTEM FOR COLLECTING MEMORIES FOR THE COMING YEAR Whether you have a photo book or not, you’ll no doubt want to collect things over the year that will be memories for you. Do this in a few ways: 
• DIGITAL PHOTOS–Create a folder for the year on your computer. Have sub folders for each month. Then, when you get to the end of each month, you can simply move all the photos you’ve taken into the right folder, and you’ll be organized before you know it! • PAPERWORK–Cards, letters, artwork etc., can all be saved once they have been used/displayed. There are 2 ways to save them: 
  • Scan/Photograph them and keep with your digital photos. 
  • Keep the actual items in a folder/box/binder. You can use a simple 3-ring binder with plastic pouches for each month of the year. Then at the end of each month, put anything in the pouch that you want to keep. At the end of the year, scan what you want to put into the photo book. 

While you go over the last year in terms of memories, you will probably be full of thoughts about how the year went (to create a photo book you will have thought about every event/month of the year). You’re in the perfect frame of mind to review the year and how it went for you. Sit for an hour or so and really think about the year. You’ll learn a lot of lessons, good and bad, from what has happened. It will help you create an even better year next year. There are some questions worth asking: 
  • What worked well? 
  • What didn’t work well? 
  • How have you felt this year? 
  • What has energized you? 
  • What has given you joy (not happiness that is based on what is happening at the moment)? 
  • What has drained you? 
You can create a spreadsheet and answer these questions from all aspects of your life, from previously set goals, social life, personal life, church, family and work. You can even add additional categories if you want. They all add up to your unique life and have to be thought of as a whole. 

Based on your thoughts from what the previous year has shown you , you can set your goals for next year. Look ahead and plan out what you want to accomplish. If you have a five-year plan, you can look at it first to check if it’s still accurate for where you are now. If not, this is a good time to start one. Next, work out what you think you need to focus on in the coming year to get to where you want to be. Finally, split everything up into milestones (mini goals) that you can do by a set time. (You can use the S.M.A.R.T. goal sheet in the freebie section.) Having goals means you can see where you’re heading, and you have a map to get there. It doesn’t matter what your goals are, how big or small. Goals can also help you see the bigger picture. 
• Create a routine for your day. 
Based on the goals and milestones you set, there will most probably be some activities that you will need to do every day to complete them. At some point, you want those activities to become a habit. You can set the routine daily, weekly or monthly. It is a good idea to use what I call a “habit tracker” to keep up with your progress. If you can document your success, you’re so much more likely to stick to it. 
• Fill out a Habit Tracker 
A habit tracker is a simple way to measure whether you completed a task that you want to become a habit for you. The most basic format is to get a calendar and cross off each day you stick with your routine. For example, if you pray on Sunday through Saturday, each of those dates gets an X. As time rolls by, the calendar becomes a record of your habit streak. No matter what design you choose, the key point is your habit tracker provides immediate evidence that you completed your goal and it is actually becoming a habit. It’s a signal that you are making progress. Of course, that’s not all it does. Habit tracking is powerful for three reasons. 
  • It creates a visual cue that can remind you to act. 
  • It is motivating to see the progress you are making. You don’t want to break your streak. 
  • It feels satisfying to record your success in the moment. 
 You are well on your way once you have completed these four tasks. The rest of the tasks in this list are making sure the day to day will work properly for you. 

To ensure you’re organized, you need to have a journal, diary, or planner of some sort. It really doesn’t matter whether you choose to have yours as digital or paper. You can have a blank book with lined pages, a binder with filler paper, or a small, medium, or large spiral notebook. The key is to do what will work for you and what you will consistently use. You want to be able to see what you have to do each day easily. Get your chosen diary / planner set up and ready for the new year. 

This is crucial. Whatever organizational tool you use only works if it actually has everything in it you need to know. Add appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, doctors/dentist appointments, car servicing dates, home maintenance dates, etc. If you have children, add their school activities and when they are off as well. If you have any other person, you have care-giver responsibilities for, add their dates as well. You should only need to spend 15-20 minutes adding each one into your new organizer for the year. If it is digital, it’s already done. Make sure you add holidays and time you want to take off for vacations. You should be able to see when you’re free. 

• Check over your weekly schedule, and the schedules of your children if any, or any other person you have care-giver responsibilities for, see whether anything needs changing. Do you need to cancel anything for any reason? Are you starting something new that needs to be added? Keeping your schedules up to date makes sure that you stay in control of your time, rather than your time being spread too thin. Whatever is happening–make sure that your schedules reflect a balance in your life. You want to leave a little time to spare. You also want to make sure your schedule reflects your goals and priorities as closely as possible. This will help to make the year fantastic for you. 
• Update your fingertip organizer. If you don’t have one, create a fingertip organizer. What is a fingertip organizer? It is a binder or folder that is right at your fingertips. It holds important information about all parts of your life. It keeps you organized, and it is useful for someone who needs to access your information in an emergency. I use a classification folder with three dividers and eight fastener prongs at the top (like the ones they use at doctor’s offices). The information is also digital because I type it in and print it off to put in the folder. 
  • Prong One–Weekly Planner Sheet 
  • Prong Two- Chore List and Healthy Meal Recommendations 
  • Prong Three–All accounts, monthly payments, and balances 
  • Prong Four–Budget Worksheet 
  • Prong Five–Social Media and Online Account login and passwords 
  • Prong Six– Home Maintenance Needs and Vendor Information 
  • Prong Seven–Family Member Name, birthdays, anniversaries, notes 
  • Prong Eight–Vacation Planning 
The information on your schedule and in your home file can all change over time . Therefore, it is a good idea to check it at least once a year. That will keep it useful to you daily. 

 If you don’t do all of these steps, I hope they have given you ideas of your own. I believe if you are willing to do them or something like them, the following year really will go more smoothly. I also believe you will feel so much more in control and organized.

Links to support resources can be found in the Freebie Section

If you have questions or need any assistance, email us. You can also call us @ 904-830-0737. You can also set up a free consultation.


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