A Hardy Welcome to 2023! Goals for the New Year…

I have always been a “goals guy”.  You know the one guy in class or in the office who plans everything, seems to be ahead of schedule, or makes numerous lists?  Yeah, that’s me.

This past week, I set out to make goals that will make 2023 nothing like 2022.  I’m ready to put 2022 behind me, as far as possible in fact!

So, this year, I have set out with new personal, professional, and spiritual goals.

My personal goals include a more concerted effort to exercise and diet.  Now, I’ve been working on this a long time, but I must admit that this past year, I have let my ministry consume my time more than I should have.  I have left little to growing my ministry of health and exercise.  With this goal already in place in the last week, I have already lost two pounds!  That’s a win!

My spiritual goals are a little different too.  Last year, I organized my daily Scripture readings and prayer around a prayer book that I tried on for size.  It was rich in worship and connection, but I wanted to try something different.  This year I am reading through the New Testament in the newly released Experiencing God Bible.  It is in the CSB (Christian Standard Bible) version, which is new to me. 

I continue to read through the Old Testament (since starting again in 2020) translation by Robert Alter, which has provided rich commentary and insights along the way.  I’m in 2 Kings right now. 

And I also read a chapter of Thomas A’Kempis’ Imitation of Christ. In the version I have, each chapter includes a reflection and a prayer to go along with the text, and those prayers lead me into my quiet time with Jesus.

Professionally, I am trying to ask questions (or discovering the right questions to ask) about each ministry in our church.  With one less ministerial staff member for the time being, we have to insure that we are doing the best we can with what we do well rather than trying to “be all things for all people”.  The two questions I am asking about each ministry is this:

  • How do we articulate the “…so that…” statement?  I’d like to know how each ministry connects with our mission, values, and the people we are trying to reach.  So, for instance, we can say, “We do the GROW ministry so that we can communicate and pray for people who are unable to be on campus on a regular basis.” That is great, but can there be more to it, like: “We also do GROW so that we can build connections with new guests and our local community“.  Well, if that is the case, what do we need to add to our GROW ministry to reach new people both within and beyond the church? 
  • Does it bear fruit?  Another question to ask is whether a ministry is bearing fruit.  Too often, we look at numbers and “returns on investment” when we assess the efficacy of ministries.  But those are questions appropriate for the marketplace, not necessarily for God’s mission in the life of our church. What if we asked, “Is this ministry bearing fruit?”  What kind of “measures of success” might we look at?  Instead of numbers, we would look at spiritual growth, connections and sharing the Gospel, and engaging our community on mission for God.  These are very different ways of looking at success of our ministry. 

These are just a handful of goals I have for 2023, and I hope that you are as excited about this New Year as I am.  I’m ready to go, and to go where Jesus leads!  What about you?

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Published by Joe LaGuardia

I am a pastor and author in Vero Beach, Florida, and write on issues related to spirituality, faith, politics, and culture.

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