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Three Reasons to Set Ministry Goals for the New Year


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I’ve written in the past about setting goals for the new year and about vision casting for your church family. 

But sometimes people question setting ministry goals in particular out of a concern that they are presuming upon the power of God. 

Although the concern can be valid, I disagree that setting ministry goals is necessarily presumptive. If our goals are motivated by a love for Christ and based in an awareness of our need for His power, they can spur us to greater faith and greater efforts to obedience. 

Here are three reasons I encourage pastors and ministry leaders to set goals for the new year:

1. They can be an expression of faith in God.

Setting goals shouldn’t be the same as writing out a to-do list. 


Setting goals shouldn’t be the same as writing out a to-do list.
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In fact, whatever ministry goals you set, should require faith.

Are you reaching into the new year with a heart of faith in God? Do you believe that if you challenge yourself (and if you are a pastor, your church family) in the areas of outreach, giving, and serving, that God would use your enlarged efforts to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)?

Faith is not an abstract quality that if we sit and just “believe enough” changes the future. Faith is believing God enough to obey Him. When we look at the commands of Scripture and then plan for how we might obey these commands with more purpose and energy, that is faith. And that is also faith-filled goal setting. 


Faith is not an abstract quality that if we sit and just “believe enough” changes the future. Faith is believing God enough to obey Him.
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When it comes to setting goals, we need to pray with the disciples, “Lord, Increase our faith” Luke 17:5).

2. The Holy Spirit still works through the local church. 

Our obedience is nothing without God’s power. 

So yes, I have a goal for how many times I want our church family to canvas our community this year. I have a goal for my personal giving in the new year. I have goals for practically every area of my spiritual walk and our church family’s ministry. 

But I am under no illusion that we can reach these goals in our own effort. 

We could saturate our community every month with the gospel…and see no fruit without the work of the Holy Spirit. 

Godly ministry goals require humility to depend on the power of God. We can (and I believe, we should) set goals for sharing the the gospel, following up on guests, leading new Christians through discipleship, involving our church family in the work of the ministry, and more. But without God’s power, it’s empty—perhaps even prideful—ideas on paper. 


Godly ministry goals require humility to depend on the power of God.
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Only the Holy Spirit can convict a sinner of their need for Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can change a new Christian’s life. Only the Holy Spirit can sustain our church family in service. 

But the good news is, the Holy Sprit can and does work in those ways! As Paul testified in Acts 20:23, “The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city….” That means He witnesses in your city. There are people right now in your community on whose hearts the Holy Spirit is working, preparing to hear the gospel.

So if you believe that the Holy Spirit still works today through the local church, set faith-filled ministry goals in dependance on Him. 


If you believe that the Holy Spirit still works today through the local church, set faith-filled ministry goals in dependance on Him.
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3. God is worthy of glory.

If you are setting goals to look like a better leader or to convince your mentors or peers or church family that you are capable and your ministry is successful, skip it. Skip the entire process. 


If you are setting goals to look like a better leader or to convince your mentors or peers that your ministry is successful, skip the entire process.
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Why? Because God resists the proud. 

But if you are setting goals for the glory of God, not the glory of self, then you can count on the grace of God in your efforts. “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6).

I believe a grace-filled Christian leader will yearn to do more for the cause of Christ and will hunger to declare His gospel and make a difference for Him. 

So, 

– if you are praying for increased faith,

– if you believe the Holy Spirit stills works today,

– if you long to lift up the name of Jesus,

I encourage you to set aside some time this week to prayerfully set faith-filled goals for the new year.

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