By Dennis Wiggs

Setting personal goals is essential for accomplishing anything worldwide. Goals give a sense of direction and purpose, promote daily enthusiasm, facilitate effective operation, reduce wasting time and accomplish far more than would be achieved without goals.

Goals act as a measuring stick to determine what we are accomplishing. Without goals we have activity but often little productivity. Just being busy is not necessarily rewarding at the end of the day.

Weekly Goals

On Sunday evening or Monday morning, make a list of everyone you want to call or email during the week. List those you want to visit. Record the names of those you want to write. List in your planner the sermons you must preach, the items for the bulletin and church responsibilities.

Record everything in that planner that must be accomplished. Mark each item off as it is done. Not only will this give you a sense of accomplishment, but it will reveal what still must be done. If you do not meet a goal, shift it to the next day or week. Be determined to check it off just as soon as possible.

Yearly Goals

Include sermon plans. For example, you may want to preach through a certain book of the Bible on Sunday morning, another book on Sunday evening, and a topical series on Wednesday evening. By determining the direction of your preaching you will spend far less time “looking for sermons” and far more time in preparation.

Just because you have set preaching goals does not mean that you can’t deviate from time to time and preach on another subject. Good yearly goals also include a list of books you want to read, a Bible reading schedule, the articles you plan to write, number of blog posts you produce, vacation, etc.

Financial goals are good. Include the amount of the tithe, and the amount you want to save Physical goals are excellent—weight that needs to be lost or gained, cholesterol raised or lowered, consistent exercise—and all these, plus more, should be written down at the beginning of the year. Set goals and you will accomplish more!

Five-Year Goals

Setting goals for the church is valuable for the productive pastor. Record those goals in your prayer journal. Do not reveal them to the congregation. Pray. Work toward achieving those goals. Set monetary goals, such as new pews, paving the parking lot, or new landscaping. Pray daily for five years and watch the Lord meet these needs. Spiritual goals are appropriate, too. Record the names of those you want to make decisions for Christ, and beside each name state a goal such as overcoming anger, stop smoking, become a soul winner, or teach a Sunday School class. Check off and date each spiritual milestone.

Again, do not share your goals with the congregation.

Life Goals

Where do you want to be spiritually by age 30? How many verses do you want to memorize? How much daily time do you want to spend in prayer? Visit a mission field? Write a book? Outline the entire Bible?

Hundreds of goals are waiting, young pastor. Be sure to write each goal you pursue in your planning book or prayer journal. Your plans will serve as a daily reminder. You will never hit any of them unless you aim.

End-of-Life Goals

How much do you want to save by age 65? Social Security may not provide an adequate life style. And based on current projections, Social Security may not be available at all! The best time to begin saving for the sunset years is today!

Squirreling away five dollars a week is better than nothing! Making even consistent, small contributions to the Board of Retirement will be far more productive at the end of your ministry than if you fail to participate in the plan.

Goals Are Personal

No one will set the goals for us. The young preacher probably will not be accountable to anyone for his goal setting and goal achieving. All of this is quite personal. Goals demand prayer. “Lord, what do you want me to do today? Tomorrow? This year? The next few years?”

Surely the Lord has specific and productive plans for our lives and ministries. Discover His will. Make a plan. Shoot for the target. When you look back over your life, you will be glad you did!

About the Writer: Dennis Wiggs retired in 2004 after many years in ministry.

Adapted from Contact magazine, December 1999.