I’m often asked by other pastors what my goals are for my pastoral ministry. It’s actually a question I have some difficulty answering. It’s not that I don’t have goals. I do. The goals I have for my pastoral ministry, however, are often not the “traditional” goals which pastors set.

See, when I listen to pastors speak of having a target number for increased giving, or number of baptisms, or a percentage increase in worship attendance I tend to feel nauseous. Don’t misunderstand. I’d love it if we had to keep our baptismal full and to have a full sanctuary during worship. As goals for ministry, however, they seem rather corporate. Religious lingo aside, these goals sound a lot like the mantra of a business looking to maximize it’s profits and expand it’s market-share. I have no doubt if I wanted to make that my pursuit, I could – but increasing the market share of Central Baptist Church isn’t why I was called to be a pastor.

Instead, my goals are typically about congregational self-care and service. That is, I look for opportunities for the congregation to reflect deeply on their faith, and make sure they are free to open new windows of opportunity for growth and service. I feel “successful” when a variety of people run large projects without waiting for me to do it. I’m ecstatic when a team member comes up with an idea beyond my imagination and runs with it. My greatest joy is when I go to a some mission Central ran without great involvement from me and am told “great job.” I love this because it gives me the opportunity to point to the people responsible and reply, “Don’t tell me, I had nothing to do with this, they did it all and deserve all the credit 1.”

If I was forced to quantify my goals I’d have to say I’m less interested in a percentage increase in membership or worship attendance, than I am with the overall percentage of people participating in mission 2.

How do I know this goal is being met? Typically I know it has when someone comes up to me and says, “I didn’t think I’d be able to do that when you asked, but I said yes anyway and I’m so glad.”

  1. On the other hand, when people complain it is my fault. 
  2. Put it this way. I’d rather be in a church of 50 where 75% of the people were involved in some mission in a leadership role, than a church of 5000 where 20% of the people are involved. 

One thought

  1. I think the goals. You set for your ministry started when you were called to central is bearing fruit today. Each person at Central is an. Unique person.

    Sent from my iPad


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