By Dr. Gabriel Powell
While many churches are still recovering from the global impact of the pandemic, 2023 is going to be a mighty year. Ministry goal-setting is more vital than ever to see growth in areas such as finances, membership, and discipleship that have been stunted over the past few years.
While every pastor has a different dynamic and context, there are foundational questions each pastor should ask when planning for the future: Where have we come from? What all have we accomplished? How behind or ahead are we in achieving the vision?
To plan for their future, every pastor should measure their church's past & present. Take a look at your five-year plan, account for each goal you wanted to accomplish and assess the success or failure of each one. For the areas of success, acknowledge the wins because they fuel the future. For the failed plans, ask: what caused you not to complete the goal - lack of resources or focus? Was it the wrong time, or execution poor?
Once you complete your assessment, here are three general areas to focus on:
1. Discipleship - how will you impact the spiritual growth of your members?
Discipleship has to be primary because that's what Jesus did. "Follow me, and I'll make you…." means to change, transform, or do something new in a person through discipleship. In today's culture, discipleship is critical to counter the "candy" being fed through soundbite clips on Youtube and social media. What makes the "candy "content bad? Watching videos from different churches, pastors, and influencers is like consuming a buffet of candy from various people and places. It may taste good, but you cannot be healthy and grow from candy, and with too much, you most definitely will get sick. A home-cooked meal provides you with a balanced diet and nutrients. Discipleship is a "home-cooked" program tailored to the spiritual needs of the people in your ministry to ensure growth.
2. Technology - how can you invest more innovation?
Though we will never literally walk on water, Jesus gave us a supernatural model to follow - create miracle moments using present-day tools. We make our wow moments by investing in multimedia equipment and technology. Think miracles and messages. Miracles will draw people to you, and they'll say, "we haven't seen that before." Miracles are why people listened to Jesus - He was doing things they had never seen, so they were intrigued to hear His message. Your church must have a competitive innovation edge that will cause people to say, "that's captivating. Let me hear what they're saying." The culture is full of technology. If the church is behind in tech, all the way down to simple, innovative ideas for communication with members, you will lose the attention of the people you seek to impact.
3, Authenticity - how can you create an authentic, relevant community?
Daily, pastors are competing with Instagram motivational speakers. So when it comes to ministry, people are seeking authenticity and relationship. People attend weekly worship services for a relatable sermon and corporate events for fellowship. To compete, we must build people-centered churches and preach messages tailored for people to say, "that was for me." Each word from every pulpit should cause God's people to relate that word to their lives, causing them to move in a Christ-centered, kingdom direction.
Are you ready to plan for your church's next year? List one ministry goal you plan to accomplish in 2023 below.