Sometimes we’re afforded moments where clarity seems to abound; we can see the past and future with a fresh and honest perspective. Summer camps, graduations, funerals, weddings, and personal retreats of all sorts are often “mountain top” moments where we can see the horizons (or at least our next steps) without the obstruction of day-to-day concerns and cultural trivia.

The end of a calendar year and beginning of another is a transition that prompts many to reflect, make new goals/commitments, and maybe dab an eye with a tissue or two. Life isn’t all New York cheesecake fed to us by butlers, is it? There’s a raw reality to living (and leading) that gets glossed over or accentuated depending on which Facebook feed that you read.

2018 was a brisk year at the Linhart household, and one full of transition! Kelly (my better half of 31 years now!) and I have each spent much of the year building the works we’ve been involved in and that has not allowed for much else. Our second oldest son got married in May and our youngest son just got married March 1. Though busy, we are SUPER thrilled for each of them and enjoy spending time with their amazing spouses.

Kel’s business grew exponentially in 2018, prompting her to need to grow her office staff and reorganize for an even bigger 2019. After five years of getting by and working just to “make it happen,” it’s rewarding to see her hard work and leadership (that exudes grace and compassion) pay off.

Here are a few highlights:

  1. The Self-Aware Leader book had a great year! We had a strong launch in 2017 and then it seemed to wane just a bit until 2018 came along and Christian leaders began to discover this book and how it could help them with their leadership teams. Almost every week I receive a note from someone expressing gratitude for the book and that’s a humbling thing for an author to experience. It was two years ago yesterday that we held the book launch and there are plans for some new things to come out this summer in support of the book. 
  2. After a half year’s break from formal writing (you’ll see why below), I completed two more book proposals and started two more. These steps of clarity regarding my writing career came from a longer period of honest reflection. If you listened to any of my episodes for 37 the Podcast, you know that my co-host Michael Yoder and I were each working through our own transitions as we were helping others do the same. One of the things that’s become clear to me is that I’m to continue on with my writing and I’m just so very excited about the potential of these books.
  3. I took a new role at Bethel College (soon to be called Bethel University on May 6) to help grow our online and graduate programs. During the podcast time, Kel and I felt like a new “something” was coming for me, a transition to new work responsibility. When I prayed about it, I always thought it would have to be external to Bethel. However, when an opportunity came up in the Adult and Graduate Studies department, it was as if God was pushing me through the open door and it was an easy and wonderful step to take.
  4. Arbor Research Group continues to grow and 2019 looks to be our biggest year yet! What started as my master’s project in 1996 morphed into a research team of two and then into a formally-organized collective of hand-picked research experts and organizational consultants. Now four years old, 2019 will be the biggest year yet for Arbor with some large “coast-to-coast” research projects developing.
  5. HCM Records (Nashville/South Bend) produced its third CD project, Heartcry (Bethel Worship Arts). Many of you know that I have a music background, so it has been a treat for me to serve as the Executive Producer for HCM and to get to launch up-and-coming artists and worship leaders (like Cidney DoBrodt, a gifted singer/songwriter. Check out her project UNDONE).

And I plan to return to blogging here and on the Arbor website. Plus there’s a new podcast coming in May (stay tuned)!  So, thank you for your patience over the last year. It’s been a great year and I feel as if I have clarity on what the next two years are to be about. 

What clarity are you gaining here as we head into spring and summer? What tears and joys did you experience in 2018? What does 2019 promise? What long-ignored project would be worth picking up during the warmer months of 2019? What would a richer relationship with God be like for you? What might God have for you in 2019?