Goals for Every Pastor
Around this time of year, every leader I know is goaded by Isaiah 32:8,
“The noble man makes noble plans and by noble deeds he stands.”
I set my goals for next year this week. Some of them are personal, some professional, some physical, some familial. The process got me thinking.
Are there some goals for pastors you ought to write in stone and just commit to every day?
I think there are.
1. Walk with Jesus.
Easy to write, and tempting to skip. With a pastor’s pace, it’s easy to justify skipping your chair time every morning. But honestly, isn’t walking with Jesus job one?
2. Love your spouse.
1 Peter 3:7 says, “Husbands, be considerate as you live with your wives… so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
I tell my staff, “If you’re not meeting with Jesus, you won’t have any true power for ministry.” I should add, “And if you’re not loving your husband/wife, you won’t be effective either.”
3. See as many people as possible come to Christ.
There’s always a tension between loving the flock and seeking the lost.
In Luke 15, Jesus says that the good shepherd will actually leave his ninety-nine sheep in the open country to go after the lost one.
The problem for pastors is that lost ones don’t make noise. They’re not bleating about better sermons, greater care, or whatever area of ministry is currently under-resourced or neglected.
Lost ones have only the voice of God whispering in the preacher’s heart, “Come find me.” This is a call we ignore at the peril of others’ eternities.
4. Raise godly children.
The legacy of a great pastor can be a group of wonderful people serving God. The legacy of a great parent is children who grow up to exceed them in ministry.
If you have to choose, pick the parent role over the pastor role.
5. Take care of your temple.
Time with Jesus gives you spiritual energy. Exercise and eating right gives you physical energy, as well as a longer life. For years I admitted that my sweet tooth had control of me. A few years ago I decided that if the fruit of the Spirit is self-control, I didn’t need to let my palate be my guide, and I gave up sweets. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. There is not a single day I wake up wishing I had ice cream or cookies the night before.
6. Increase your skills.
Readers are leaders, so I set a goal of reading at least twenty-four book each year. Every year I hire a new ministry mentor. Twice a year I attend a conference. And every week I watch a video of a great preacher. I used to listen to podcasts, but seeing the preacher’s face, posture, and the arrangement of the room helps me.
7. Expand your world.
I’ve discovered I can see things more clearly at a distance, so getting out of town several times a year helps my leadership.
A few years ago Lori and I visited friends in Quebec, Canada. They have history there! Seeing a different culture always stimulates my vision about what God may want to do in my city. I take international trips as often as I can.
Every pastor should get far away from their city at least annually
8. Avoid sin.
David had it right when he said, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Ps. 66:18). God’s blessing to me and progress through me is hindered because of my folly. I want his best. Sin, by its very definition, is not God’s best for me.
The more I say “no” to sin and “yes” to God, the more he is able to use me.
9. Inspire your staff and board.
I am clearly dependent on the people around me. The better they work, the better the work. One of my top priorities is to train, inspire, and encourage my inner circle fervently and strategically. I meet with my staff weekly, Board monthly, and take both of them on semi-annual retreats where I pour into them through Bible study, worship, planning and prayer.
10. Feed your people.
I’m currently reading, Spurgeon: Prince of Preachers. That man changed a whole city by the power of his preaching! Technology and the “cool” factor can seduce us into devoting undue time to the production side of the church service. Leave that to others.
The pastor’s greatest moment is the preaching of the Word. When it’s preached with power, lives are changed. Spurgeon believed there was a difference between the written Word and the spoken Word. He said, “I was convicted by the one, but converted by the other.”
I’m become increasingly convinced that preaching must be the Pastor’s weekly obsession.
Have you thought about your top ten goals? How does this list suit you?
Take two minutes to do some quick work on your goals:
- Type out a list of your top ten goals – as they come to mind.
- Click on one of the links below to learn more about goal setting for pastors.
Would you like to be sure that you are setting the best possible goals as a church leader?
Get my new ebook and walk through a step-by-step process to set and accomplish your goals.
You can be confident that you are moving forward in God’s plan for you.
- How to Review your Year for a Better New Year
- The 5 Rs of Setting Annual Goals
- The 6 Skills you Need to Accomplish your Goals
Start Here to learn more about the resources available for you at PastorMentor.