We've all heard the adage, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." We know that's true, but many of us still fail to set goals or plan intentional activities that will lead to successful outcomes. We are content to drift along hoping that something good will happen to us. As important as hope is, by itself it will not enable us to achieve the things we might want to achieve.
Most churches tell me they want to grow, but many of these same churches have never developed strategies that might lead to growth. While working with a pastor search committee, I asked what they wanted in their next pastor. They gave the usual response I hear to that question: we want a pastor who will grow our church. I answered back, "So you want a pastor who will come in here and change everything you're doing. You do realize that if you could grow by doing what you've been doing, you would already be growing, don't you?" The committee chair looked at me a little startled at my reply and suggested that they might want to reconsider their response. The last thing that church wanted was change, and I knew that from working with them before.
More times than not, successful outcomes come from having a clear vision from God as to what he wants to do in and through your church, setting goals that will help you achieve that vision, and developing strategies that will enable you to reach your goals. As we take these steps we are becoming much more intentional about what we are doing. That intentionality causes us to be more focused in our efforts, and this focus leads to more successful outcomes.
This is true in business as well. Everything I wrote in the paragraph above is applicable to businesses and other organizations. It is also true for family life. It can become so easy for a family to settle in old routines that might be comfortable but which do not lead to deeper relationships. I've learned in my goal setting to set some goals for my marriage and our relationships with our children and grandchildren.
Finally, personal growth also comes from being intentional about becoming the person you want to be. What plans have you made for your own personal growth in 2016? What books will you read? What new relationships will you develop? Will you take up a new hobby? What habits will you break, or which new ones will you develop? What conferences will you attend? Will you take some courses in 2016 to gain new knowledge or skills? Personal growth is a choice that each of us must make, and it requires planning on our part and a commitment to intentional actions that will lead to growth.
So, what will you achieve in 2016?