It is customary for many, as the new year approaches, to make “New Year’s Resolutions” – goals to strive for in the new year. For some, these goals apply not just to their personal lives, but to their professional lives as well. For those in ministry, the new year is a chance to remember that all things are made new in Christ, and to realign their ministry and career goals with the call of God.
For those in ministry, career goals are related to personal and spiritual goals, as their career is a function of their relationship with God. Goals are not just about making more money or moving up in the ranks, although those things in and of themselves are not bad or evil. Instead, career goals are related to how one can have more of an impact for Christ in the community to which they are called.
Ministry goals must be covered in prayer. I, personally, have a whole team of people at my church who are helping me pray over what God wants to do through me in the new year. As a children’s minister, my personal career goals are to devote more time to study and preparation each week, to build a stronger volunteer base for the children’s programming at my church, and to develop ministries that reach out to the children and families in the surrounding community where my church is located.
Career goals in ministry, of course, are not just for ministers who are happily situated in a church or ministry. They are also for those who are currently searching for work, or for those who feel stuck in their current position. The new year may provide a chance for these individuals to re-evaluate the calling of God on their lives and give them the impetus to apply for new jobs or transition to another location.
While ministry career goals are important, some may hesitate, asking questions like, “why wait until the new year to start making goals?” or “why make resolutions when I may fail to achieve them?” or “should I not wait and see what God is going to do and not impose my will upon Him?” These are all excellent questions, and I will address them below.
- Why wait until the new year to start making goals?
A minister or ministry leader should never feel it necessary to wait until the new year to make goals or implement action steps toward a goal. However, the symbolism of the new year – rebirth, a fresh start, a clean slate – may provide a defined restart point that can motivate a person toward action. Church congregations may be more receptive to change as everyone breathes in a breath of fresh air in the new year. As I reminded my students at church last Sunday,
“…The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- Why make resolutions when I may fail to achieve them?
Fear of failure is never a reason not to try, especially when it comes to things concerning the Kingdom of God. A ministry career is a journey, not easily measurable in the ways of man. In the secular world, career growth may mean rising up in a company or being offered a raise. In the world of ministry, career growth may mean the opportunity to reach more people or see more souls saved. Sometimes, what looks like failure to us is exactly what God intended to happen, for reasons we will never see this side of eternity. If a minister feels God has called them or their church to do something, and members of the church have prayed over it and felt the same calling, that is reason enough to try. If it is God’s will, it will happen. If not, God will still be in control.
- Should I not wait and see what God is going to do and not impose my will upon Him?
Certainly we should never impose our own will upon God. However, making plans is not necessarily failing to let God act. While God is the author of all things, we are responsible for our own actions. Setting goals is a wonderful way to create action steps that allow things to get done. Goals also give ministers and churches clear vision regarding where to go next.
I pray that all ministers will grow and thrive in the new year.