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Newsletter January 2024

New Year, New Goals

sean cronin training lead passion for plantingHave you set any goals for 2024? I prefer to set goals over making New Year’s resolutions. Goals help me invest my time and attention towards specific outcomes that I believe honor God. Goals help the Passion for Planting team direct our energy towards a common purpose, so we can better steward the resources God has entrusted to us. Setting goals can help everyone of us anticipate God’s better future for our lives and ministries in 2024.

To some, setting goals can be scary because we’re frightened by the thought of not accomplishing them and feeling like a failure. However, what if you set a goal of losing 50lbs in 2024 but only lose 25lbs? Is that failure? No! You lost 25lbs!!! That’s a win. Yes, you didn’t accomplish all you set out to accomplish, but because you identified a goal and sought to accomplish it, you’re now healthier and 25lbs lighter than you would be if you didn’t set a goal to pursue in the first place.

Have I inspired you to develop any goals for 2024 yet? Whether they be regarding your personal health, family life, or ministry, I think it would be worthwhile to spend some time praying about and brainstorming a list of S.M.A.R.T. goals for this year. The S.M.A.R.T. acronym stands for Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Relevant. Time-based.

Here are some questions to kick start your goals list:

Do you want to….

  • Read through the Bible in a year?
  • See the number of people baptized at your church increase over last year’s number?
  • Fast and pray once a month to increase your hunger for God?
  • Eat dinner together as a family at least once a week?
  • Run a marathon?
  • Increase your generosity this year?

Goals that help you become a healthier and effective leader won’t create themselves. You’ve got to dedicate time and thought to developing those. Don’t wander aimlessly through 2024. Develop goals that will help you be a good steward of your time and energy this year. To help you with this we’ve packed this month’s newsletter full of resources to help you develop goals for your life and ministry. Enjoy!

-Sean Cronin, Training Lead

Jan 2024 – Content

  • Fuel Your Passion  
  • Determine Your Direction 
  • Articulate Your Mission 
  • Share Your Faith 

Fuel Your Passion

Fuel your passion with prayer and fasting

If you’re serious about losing weight this year, you probably have a plan on how you’ll do it. That plan probably includes an adjustment to your diet and exercise regimen which will help you burn more calories than you consume. If you do that, you’re almost guaranteed to lose weight. 

While developing a plan to improve your physical health is important, what’s even more important is developing rhythms in your life that promote spiritual health and vitality. There are lots of different ways to do this like practicing daily gratitudedigging into God’s word daily, and fasting. Out of those three I’d imagine most of us find fasting to be the most challenging. If that’s true for you, perhaps it’s time to develop a fasting goal this year and a plan to help you accomplish it. Fasting isn’t just about not eating. It’s about giving up something good so you can spend more time with Jesus. 

If you’re interested in growing in your relationship with Jesus this year through fasting, check out Your Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer by Dr. Bill Bright and Cru. It will help you understand the importance of fasting and offer you tips and ideas for how to make the most of this spiritual discipline. 

Then consider encouraging your church to fast and pray along with you. Here are some Prayer & Fasting resources our church put together to encourage people to intensify their relationship with Jesus through fasting. 

Determine Your Direction    

Where is God leading your church? Do you have clarity about that, so you can lead the church towards that's destination?

Discerning where God is leading you this next year is the first step in pursuing the vision God has for your life and ministry. Next, you’ll benefit from formulating a plan that will guide you in pursuit of that vision. The biggest hinderance to achieving big visions is oftentimes neglecting to develop smaller goals that serve as steppingstones leading you towards your preferred future. Knowing this, Will Mancini developed the Horizon Storyline framework to help leaders break down their vision into measurable and timely goals.

Don’t overlook developing a plan that will direct your efforts to a singular vision. As the saying goes, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” However, if you make that first step in the wrong direction, after even a thousand steps you won’t be where you intended to be. Define your vision and then use the Horizon Storyline to direct your efforts, all towards a common vision. To help you develop your Horizon Storyline check out this short video by our friend Andrew Estes from Nexus Church Planting & Leader Care

Articulate Your Mission

Does your church have clarity about what they are supposed to be doing? As Will Mancini says, "Clarity isn't everything, but it changes everything."

At Passion for Planting, we tell church planters that one of their main roles as a leader is to allocate finite resources to the critical growth path. That’s how you can build momentum within and through your organization. When you get this right, your team stays on mission heading in the same direction together.

One tool we’ve seen church leaders use to get their people heading in the same direction together is Will Mancini’s Vision Frame. He describes its form and function in his book Church Unique, which we believe is a must-read for church leaders. While we do highly recommend reading the whole book, we know you’re busy, so you can access his free Church Unique Visual Summary. Develop your Vision Frame and start building momentum within your church today!

Share Your Faith

Always be ready to preach the good news.

Perhaps you have a goal of sharing your faith with your neighbors this year. If you do, it’ll help to think about a method to do it. For instance, let’s say there’s a snowstorm in your city and you get to spend 30 minutes with your neighbor shoveling out their driveway. What would you share with them? 

The fact of the matter is, most Christians want to share their faith with their friends, neighbors, and co-workers, but they don’t know how. That’s why we train church planters to develop their 2-minute story and their 15-second testimony as a way to share their faith and train others to do the same. 

Here’s a goal: master your 15-second testimony and share it with three people over the next week. Then email planting@church-planting.net and share with us what you learned through the experience and how you saw God work in and through you during this experience. 

Photos by Ronnie Overgoor, Aaron Burden, Ethan Sykes, David Travis, and Aaron Blanco Tejedor from Unsplash.