Did you have personal goals for 2020?  Perhaps you planned to read certain books, complete certain training, read or memorize certain portion of the Bible.  Did you have ministry goals?  To create certain ministries, develop certain programs or train specific teams? BUT THEN 2020 BLEW UP! And yet, Jesus still showed up, changed lives and helped you lead through a crazy time.  The craziness might not be over yet, but God worked last year and He has a plan for next year too.  Now is the perfect time to pull out your 2020 goals, be encouraged at the very different ways Jesus built your church this year, and then begin to pray and seek Jesus for what goals He might have for your church in 2021.  

When we are talking about the church, all of our goals rest on these truths:

  1. Jesus is the builder of the church.  After Peter makes the statement that Jesus is the Messiah, Jesus says , “on this rock I will build my church” (Matthew 16:18b).  Jesus makes it clear that he is the one who builds the church.  We are the ones who lead, teach and make disciples.  
  1. God causes the growth.  Paul also makes a clear statement when he says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6).  So it is Jesus and God working together to build the church and to grow its people.
  1. We are able to hear Jesus’ voice.  In John 10 Jesus states four times that his sheep (you and I) are able to hear his voice.  In John 10:27 Jesus says “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”.

So, if He’s building, He’s growing, and He’s speaking, it’s likely He wants to speak to you through a simple prayer like this:

Jesus, how do you want to build my church in 2021?

God, how do you want to grow the people in my church in 2021?

Perhaps another time we can talk about all the ways that Jesus communicates with us, his people.  For now, the starting point is to offer this simple prayer asking him to lead you to those goals that He wants to accomplish going into 2021.  You might find your prayers become more focused by looking at the seven strategies that each church must have and see if God is leading you to focus on one of those. These are worship, community, discipleship, leadership, evangelism, church planting, and missions

Once you have begun to discern the direction Jesus is leading, the next step is to begin to make some specific goals.  

To increase the likelihood of accomplishing your goals it is important to keep them few in number and to write them down.  Here’s the S.M.A.R.T. method of writing down goals.  

Specific (Stated simply with details, who, what, where, when, how).

Measurable (Not just general direction but specific results).

Achievable (Make sure it is attainable).

Relevant (To your context and your broader vision)

Time-based (Time frame for meeting this goal) 

Here’s the process:

  1. Pray: Jesus, how do you want to build my church in 2021?
  2. Perceive: Which of the seven strategies is Jesus emphasizing to you?
  3. Pray: What are the who, what, where, when and how of that strategy area?
  4. Plan: Set S.M.A.R.T. goals.
  5. And keep praying.

~ Eric Oleson