The Power of One Word


“I'm asking God for one thing, only one thing” – Psalm 27:4a


Get One Word for the new year…but be careful! It might change you.

Since 1999, we started the simple discipline of developing a One Word theme for the upcoming year. That is right—One Word. Not a phrase, not a statement, just a single word. To this point, it has been nothing short of life-changing.

If you have the competitor mindset like we do, you have done your fair share of goal-setting at the start of each New Year. We want to accomplish much and maximize the opportunities given to us. However, as time goes by, we begin to feel guilty as we fall short in our ambitious plans. At one point, we became so frustrated with the whole resolution process, that we even tried boycotting resolutions. That didn't work either.

It just made us feel guilty about being a slacker who didn't set any goals. In both cases, we always wound up feeling defeated, which is tough to handle as a true competitor.

For us, this One Word exercise has become a focal point throughout the year. It helps bring clarity into a very complex world. The discipline of developing a One Word theme has stretched me in all areas: spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally and financially. God has transformed me in many ways through this exercise, and we promise that through it God can bring truth and revelation into your life, as well.

There is a reason why we say, “Get One Word for the year…but be careful.” The “careful” part is serious. You know the phrase, “Be careful what you pray for.” It is like when you pray for patience and all you get are trials, problems and situations in which you need to practice patience. Well, the same goes for One Word. We guarantee that as soon as you find your word, the battle will begin. Do not approach this exercise half-heartedly. You will get slammed, we promise. This exercise is not for people who want to pick a nice, comfortable word that will have no significant impact on their lives. It truly is a discipline for those who want to press in and see God do great things in and through them. It is for those who want to live life to its fullest. No retreat. No regrets. It will also be a process of teaching, correcting and molding, as God will certainly bring you to a point of brokenness in relation to your word. But when you are soft in the Creator’s hands, He can form you into His vessel! You will be a changed competitor.

Many athletes and coaches try to approach One Word as just another goal, but this is not a question of whether or not you will “win” at your One Word for the year. Your goal should be to live out the adventure God has for you and to learn from the lessons along the way. It is simply a matter of yoking with the Savior. You can’t look at it as a task item on your to-do list. You must see it, rather, as a journey—a great journey of victories and defeats, all of which are brought to and laid at the feet of the Christ.

It has been our experience that God quickly reveals His plans for the year regarding your One Word. That word (be it a discipline, fruit of the Spirit, character trait, attribute of God or even a person) will brand you for the year! Be careful with your One Word. It will change the way you compete, think, act and live!

Once you’re finished, be sure to share your experience with others—your teammates, spouse, children, friends, staff and church members. You’ll be blessed as you watch them adapt and grow in their own One Word.

  1. What is God saying to you this past year?
  2. What area does God want to take hold of in your life and use for His glory?
  3. How does God want to position you for the upcoming year?
  4. How can your One Word impact you as a competitor?

Psalm 27:1-14 Luke 18:22 Mark 10:21 John 9:25


"Dear Lord, as I start the new year, I ask that you will make it a life-changing year. I want to live for You alone. Reveal Yourself to me as You show me what my One Word theme will be. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I realize that it is a journey of learning not a task to accomplish. Through this process, I desire to know You better. Strengthen me as I live out my One Word every day. In Jesus’ name, amen."