Where Do You Plan to Go this Year and Beyond?

A year ago today my family and I were in Israel. One of the reasons we were able to go is because we aimed to go. We planned for a year and a half. We chose a tour. We made a down payment — a commitment. We bought passports, clothes, chargers for our cell phones, snacks, and other things we’d need to have a good trip.

It wasn’t an accident we saw Caesarea, rode on the Sea of Galilee, swam in the Dead Sea, walked the streets of Jerusalem, and visited the Garden Tomb. 

Much of what and where we are today is the result of planning — or lack of planning.

Fifty years ago someone introduced me to the concept of setting goals. Since 1971, I’ve written specific goals each year. I haven’t reached every goal but I’ve done more than if I hadn’t planned to do anything.

In the New Shepherds Orientation Workshop, we do a section on goal setting. It’s inconsistent to encourage the church to set goals, have a vision of where they want to go if leaders have no idea where they are, where they want to go, and a plan to move in that direction. 

Suggestion — if you’ve never set goals, set one specific goal in these five areas for 2021:

  • Spiritual (prayer, Bible study, service, evangelistic friendship)
  • Family (devotionals, regular events to get the family together, repair damaged relationships, make overdue apologies)
  • Mental (memorize scripture, take a class, attend a seminar, listen to instructive podcasts, number of books to read or hear)
  • Physical (physical examination, dental work, exercise, check hearing, sight)
  • Financial (save specific amount, invest, discuss and adjust weekly contribution, give personally to people who need help)

On the first day of each month, take ten minutes to compare where you are for the year with the goal you set in each of the five areas. Adjust as needed.

For more thoughts on setting goals: Planning to Grow as a Leader.

If you as a leader find that helpful, share the concept with others. With fellow leaders, involve brothers and sisters in setting goals for the congregation.

In a recent post in Between Preachers, I recounted an event that made a deep impression on me. I’ve reflected on it for the last half-century: My Shortest Full-time Work. In discussing the possibility of me working with the congregation, I asked the elders about their ten-year goals. One of the elders said, “We haven’t discussed our ten-year goals. It would probably be to piddle around like we’ve been doing and pay for our church building.”

I don’t believe Jesus died on a cross 2,000 years ago to have his followers make a ten-year goal to “piddle around like we’ve been doing and pay for our church building.”

The only thing worse would be to give no thought to where we’re going and how we’re going to get there.

But, some of the most exciting and encouraging times in my ministry have been when we designated a Friday night and Saturday to reflect on the previous year. We rejoiced in the ways the Lord blessed our work. We dreamed about the future, five to ten years. We made detailed plans for the upcoming year. With many people involved — elders, deacons, preachers, and other Christians — we set specific objectives. 

We often designated a spiritual theme, an emphasis that ran throughout the year. Some of these were:

  • The Bible applies to me
  • Unity
  • Let brotherly love continue
  • Reach out and teach someone
  • Central — a place for every face
  • Bible school — a family affair

What do you plan to do this year?

How are you leading the congregation where you worship to “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14, NKJV)?

For more thoughts on setting goals: Planning to Grow as a Leader.

I have a goal to return to Israel with my family in the spring of 2025. I have no details about the trip now. But with this lead time, we have the opportunity to make plans.

If you have an interest, stay in touch.

What if I don’t live that long? I’ll be in a better place than Israel. And during the time I have left, I’ll have the pleasure of thinking, talking with our family and friends, and dreaming of another great adventure.

As with any goal, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” (James 4:15).

(Visited 421 times, 11 visits today)
Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

2 Responses to “Where Do You Plan to Go this Year and Beyond?

  • Thank you, Jerrie! I appreciate that you suggested some the growth areas mentioned about Jesus. We’re finishing a book for teen girls by Cynthia Guy: The Girl for My Son. And she emphasizes the value of setting goals and evaluating in these areas. I think we often we learn what works and then stop doing it! Your reminder is great, and I will take it to heart.

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