I have often struggled with the concept and practice of ‘Goals’ when it comes to my life and ministry. Everything we know about leadership, competitions and becoming our best suggests that ‘Goals’ are central to success. It’s hard to argue with this reality; after all, would athletes ever get a gold medal or win a world cup without first aspiring to do so? Of course at a basic level we are all motivated and driven by dreams and goals; whether we label them or not, even me!
When I arrived in America from England I was taken back by the professionalism in ministry. I quickly became concerned with the part that ‘goals’ played in this area of culture. Although I had wonderful models of Pastors who I served alongside, I also saw Pastors in the US who seemed to have taken their eyes off PEOPLE and turned towards POWER and POPULARITY. In many ways I despised the thought of making goals because of the often ‘selfish’ goals I had seen others make in the name of ministry.
Over time though I have begun to realize that goals are a great tool to use; and like all tools they aren’t evil, however they do reveal the heart of those who use them! It’s how you wield a tool that draws out its value.
Here are some questions I have learned to ask concerning Goals:-
1. Have I asked God to give me goals?
Throughout the Bible God gave dreams and goals to people. Go and fill the Earth, deliver the Israelites from Egypt, build the Temple and tell the World the Good News of Jesus! These were incredibly goals which all were accomplished because they weren’t man made, but God inspired, goals. When we ASK God for our goals; we align ourselves with his Heart and desires.
2. Have I submitted my goals before God?
David had a God given goal of building the Temple; it was God’s idea given to David BUT God didn’t let David actually reach the goal or properly pursue it! When all is said and done, our pursuit of our GOALS can’t come before or get in the way of the pursuit of our GOD! We see this most clearly through Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac to show God was still number 1.
3. Are my goals in line with what scripture tells me to pursue?
God given goals should never be out of line with God’s word. It’s easy to get caught up with Goals that actually work against God’s intended purpose for our lives! Scripture outlines our purpose and God’s expectation for his people; we must always measure our goals by these guidelines.
4. How do my current goals bring God glory?
So often our goals focus on promoting ourselves to power, position and popularity. We must resolve whether our motive in our goals is to promote ourselves or to bring glory to God. Our lives and our goals must be Christ centered. The key to keeping good goals is to keep checking your heart.
I encourage you to seek God given goals for your life; write them down, back them with scripture and pray over them! However, be sure in everything to allow yourself and your goals to be shaped by the Holy Spirit. Don’t center your life on your goals but on the One who is able to do more through you than you could ask, think or even imagine!