Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”
When I graduate from this life and cross over to the other side, I want to hear the Matthew 25:23 admonition from my Saviour: “…well done thou good and faithful servant…” If you are even remotely like I am, then you have thought about many things that you could do in life. Many times, when the Lord touches your heart about a particular task, it may be that He wants you to accomplish it. Sometimes, that can be a little daunting. Whether you are a leader in your church, business, or home, you must have goals and develop a plan to accomplish them.
There are two parts to accomplishment: the first is vision, and the second is goals. Vision is simply seeing what something can be, even though it is not there now. Goals are the path that you will take to see that vision become a reality. I have served under leaders in the military, business world, and churches that have had much vision. They constantly talk about vision and for some it becomes their catch phrase! While vision is a great thing, without goals, vision is meaningless. Goals have the potential to turn the dream of the vision into a practical reality.
Does having goals really matter? Did you know that the Harvard School of Business released a study some time ago that specifically dealt with setting goals? It has some interesting lessons. It stated that 83% of the population does not have goals. (That statistic alone is incredible!) It also found that 14% of people have a plan in their mind but have not written it down. Only 3% of people have actually written down their goals. The 14% who have goals were found to be ten times more successful than those without goals. TEN TIMES MORE SUCCESSFUL! They are ten times more likely to accomplish what they set out to do just because they have a goal! At this point, maybe you are thinking, “Having goals is important, but actually writing them down will not make a difference.” The study found, however, that the 3% with written goals are three times more successful than the 14% with unwritten goals. Wow! Apparently, having a vision and writing out your goals to accomplish that vision will put you ahead on the road to success in life.
How does this apply to the Christian? Habakkuk 2:2-3 says, “And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” It all starts by developing your vision! Then, you can begin to establish the goals to accomplish that vision. Put your dreams on paper! You may not immediately see a path forward, but just having them written down will keep them in front of you. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” We should have vision and a plan, but we must also trust God to help us take the right steps at the right time. He will direct our steps if we let Him!
In the spirit of turning your vision into goals, I would like to write mine down here to go on record that these are some of the things I would like to accomplish in my life (Some of these are personal, and some are ministry.They are not in any particular order.) In making this list, I am being very transparent – not to gain approval or applause, but to set an example and to make myself accountable to others as I seek to follow the path the Lord has put me on. When I finally meet Jesus on the other side, I hope that he will say to me, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”
- Be absolutely surrendered to God and have Holy Spirit power in my preaching and life.
- Be the best father & husband that I can. Raise children who want to serve God in whatever way He chooses to use them (whether full-time or as faithful, serving members of solid, Baptist churches).
- Write books & pamphlets: Handling Hurt Properly; A Pulpit Committee Handbook; A Principled Life for Teenagers; Proverbs for my Children; and others.
- Earn my Master’s & Doctorate.
- Be able to give to someone who is needy, as the Lord has given to me in my time of need.
- Be a double tither.
- Pay the house off early.
- Own an acre of wooded land where I can build a secluded, small cabin (no power or plumbing). Use this as a private get away and also offer it to preachers, evangelists, and missionaries for their use.
- Pastor a church that is all about the Gospel!
- Have a large and prominent Faith Promise missions program.
- Be an effective teacher of the Word of God.
- Have a powerful prayer life
- Teach the next generation to do the same.
- Have the largest Sunday School in town (or county and, possibly, the state!)
- Lead the effort to have a successful soul-winning program in my church by personally knocking on every door of the town where I live.
- Have a large, effective bus ministry.
- Have a positive influence on other Pastors. Preach to a large group of pastors.
- Preach to 500, 1000, 5000.
- Make missions trips to the Philippines, India, & Africa.
- Develop other men to be pastors, evangelists, and missionaries.
- Visit the established ministries of those who went out from my ministry.
- Have an intern program that trains college students for the work of the ministry.
- Build a church camp and host retreats and camps for all ages and needs.
My last goal is a rather specific one, though I am choosing to keep it vague on purpose! (If and when the Lord chooses to fulfill this request, you will know!) In Joshua 14:12, Caleb said, “Now therefore give me this mountain.” He got his, and I am asking the Lord for mine!
Does listing all these things mean that I will accomplish every one of them? Of course not, but I know that with my goals articulated I will be more likely to complete them. As a pastor, people expect you not just to have vision, and a path to accomplishment. As a Christian, you shouldn’t let life pass you by. Start by listing your vision and goals, and then get after them. If the Lord is in it, He will help direct your steps and give you strength to accomplish your tasks. Remember Proverbs 16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”
** the picture is of Quartzite mountain from my hometown of Chewelah, WA. I grew up looking at it everyday and I have been up on its peak!