Faith is at the core of who we are as church planters. Because we believe in the name and finished work of Jesus Christ, we seek to make His truth known to the world—beginning with where we’ve been planted. Amidst all our ambition and responsibilities, it’s difficult to focus our energy and attention. Because of this reality, it’s essential that we create goals for ourselves and for churches as a whole. Here are five ways to set goals by faith for God’s glory.
1. Get uncomfortable
The intent of a faith goal is to demonstrate our faith within that goal. This means asking certain questions. Is it going to require me to walk by faith? Is it going to require me to walk without sight? Am I stretching myself? Is this somewhere I’ve never been before? Do I know how to get there? What am I feeling uncertain about?
If you’re making a goal for yourself and there’s absolutely no stretching involved in it, that’s not a faith goal. You want to set goals that take you beyond where you’ve been before, boldly allowing you to trust the Lord in what He’s called you toward.
2. Start with the end
One way to get started on your faith goals is to start with one word to encompass your hopes for the year. Choose one word or phrase to focus in on, praying over it often. Reflect on something you feel led to do in the upcoming year. (This may seem pretty simple, but it’s not simple when put into practice.) From there, consider the goals you can get to based off of that one word or phrase. Then, seek to achieve that. Maybe it’s a goal of weekly evangelism. Perhaps it’s to go out and establish relationships within your neighborhood.
However you wish to begin, start with the end in mind. Go with the big picture first.
3. Connect the dots
Ask yourself: Where is God already working? Look at the documentation of fruitfulness in the life of your church. Begin looking at the data of who is in attendance and where they’re driving in from. Map out the people and places where you see God’s fruitfulness already unfolding. You want to keep walking down the path that God is laying before you and your people. You can also engage with other church planters who are reaching contexts similar to yours. Have conversations with them about what God is up to among their people. Listen as they share the same stories.
God will make the path known to you as you continue to seek after His heart for your people.
4. Ask for input—from God and others
Get a whiteboard in front of you and decide where you’d like to see your church go in the next year. Choose your top two or three goals. Then, get everybody on your team to list their own goals. From there, give everyone the opportunity to vote for two. See which themes seem to be most reoccurring among your people and take them into consideration. Then, get alone with the Lord again in prayer. If you have five goals, ask the Lord which four to go after.
All this to say, don’t be afraid to ask for help in goal setting—from others, yes, but from God, absolutely. You may have a lot of good ideas, but many may never come to fruition if they’re left alone to just you. So, rely on the Lord and listen to the wise counsel in your life. Remember: you can’t do this alone. But by God’s grace, you’ll never have to.
5. Don’t overdo it
We as people tend to overdo it in areas we’ve never worked in before. So many church planters have gone in with 15 new goals and the best of intentions. However, to make sure you’re doing the work well, set no more than three or four goals. If you have too many, you will spin a lot of wheels and not make as much progress. If you have too few, you may be leaving some things on the table that will be essential to your work in God’s kingdom.
In all, you must remember that God is in charge of the increase. Because of this truth, your goals—no matter how good and well-meaning they are—may or may not happen the way you intended for them to go. This doesn’t mean you must spend the next season of ministry in overdrive. Remember God’s place in the redemption story: He is in charge, reconciling all things for His glory. Keep trusting in Him, leaning on His truth, and working for the eternal good of His kingdom.
Published June 12, 2023