Goals can scare people. Sometimes they even scare me. But a goal will simultaneously elevate your urgency, pressure, and accountability. A goal can also elevate your direction, vision, and purpose. To be an effective and impactful student pastor, you must be willing to face the fears brought on by goals so that you – and possibly those around you — can reap the benefits of them. Without clear goals, you will be left to flounder from one action to the next. With them, your life and ministry can be full of focus and purpose.
Here are three simple things you can do to reduce overcome your fear and ensure success:
1. Write them down.
This exercise will help you think through your goals with clarity. Be disciplined in prayer throughout this process. Ask God to give you clear direction as you think about where He wants to take you this year. At the end of this process you may find that your final goals are different than the ones you originally had in your head.
2. Create a plan.
Legendary Cowboys football coach Tom Landry once said, “Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.” Many people set goals. Few people go through the hard work involved to create a plan to accomplish them. Filter your actions for the next year through this plan and unashamedly pursue the goals that God has given you.
3. Share them.
This is the scary part. Until now, your goals have been private. If you don’t reach them, no one will know. This privacy is a reason why many people don’t achieve their goals. An unshared goal is easily forgotten when the work gets difficult. Sharing your goals will bring the necessary accountability you need for them to stick. It will also provide you with the necessary allies, supporters, and prayer partners you will need to succeed.
I have experienced success and failure with goals that I’ve set. I hate not reaching a goal. There have been times when that goal failure has plagued me. When failure happens, learn from it but don’t allow it to rule over you. Don’t allow the fear of failing again keep you from setting some challenging goals and chasing hard after them. Part of this process involves putting yourself out there and taking a risk to accomplish something big.
To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.
Ben Trueblood serves as the Director of Student Ministry for Lifeway Christian Resources and has served the local church as a student pastor for thirteen years.