Setting Goals & Running Our Race
A quick search online will show the dictionary defines goal as “the result or achievement toward which effort is directed.” It’s a definition that reminds us that there are certain things in life that require a focused amount of effort. If you are going to set a goal for yourself, it will require both effort and focus. Which leads to a question, what was the last goal you set for yourself? Did you accomplish the goal? Why or why not?
I think it’s safe to assume that most unmet goals are a result of either a lack of effort or a lack of focus. Conversely, the goals we achieve are often a result of tremendous effort and tremendous focus. Therein lies the value of goal-setting. While it is great to accomplish goals, the real benefit is in the journey and the growth that comes from the effort and focus required to pursue the goal itself.
This brings me to an important point for the goals we’ve set for ourselves as a church. This past April we outlined the goals of 2-20-200. By next Easter, we want to have 2 Renewal Groups, 20 individuals/families advocating for foster care and adoption; and 200 baptisms.
This past Wednesday, I sang alongside several folks within our church at the launching of our Renewal ministry. When the last song was sung I watched the two groups divide up and connect with a very heartfelt and sincere desire to find renewal in Jesus. Over the last month I’ve visited with more than 30 individuals/families who are taking steps to become licensed foster parents or to adopt, or to provide respite care or to volunteer with CASA. Just this past week we’ve heard of at least three stories of college students leading fellow students to make a decision to follow Christ. These are decisions that we trust will lead to baptism and discipleship. Equally exciting, though more personal, is that over the next three weeks I’ll have the privilege of baptizing my two nieces and a brother-in-law. With each story and with each development I find myself so excited by what God is doing in the life of this church. And frankly, I want to hear more. Take the time to share with us how you are seeing God at work in our church’s pursuit of these goals to the excitement can continue to grow.
But I want to make sure not only that you join me in that excitement but that you understand the source of it. I do believe we will achieve all of these goals. I don’t know the exact timing, but I do believe we’ll achieve them. That said, we didn’t set these goals for our church just so we could track numbers. We set these goals so that we could have focus and effort. Jesus should be the focus of our heart. Jesus should be the recipient of our efforts. We should give everything we have to him. So when we are willing to put for the effort to seek renewal and/or help others find the healing they need, we are living for Jesus in a very real, tangible and profound way. When we put forth the effort to open our homes to a child who needs a family, or advocate for that child or help support a family who has taken a child in, we are living for Jesus in a very real, tangible and profound way. When we reach out to our neighbors and invite colleagues to lunch or families over for dinner and we pray for them and meet their needs and share the hope of Christ, we are living for Jesus in a very real, tangible and profound way. In short, the effort and focus we offer towards these goals allow us to find joy in the journey of living for Jesus. And that’s what excites me. It’s not about the numbers but being a church that is willing to put forth the effort and focus to live for Jesus.
So, let’s continue to pray together, serve together and direct all of our efforts and all of our focus on Christ. Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus and not grow weary. Rather, lets run the race marked out for us … and may we find joy in the journey. - Jerimiah Smith, Pastor