Jan 01, 2018


New Year, New Goals, Ancient Power

Darrick Smith provides a simple reminder that if collegiate leaders want to reach new goals, they must rely on ancient power.

Happy New Year!  It’s 2018.  Can you believe it? As you rang in the new year you probably already thought through all the changes you want to make this year. Maybe you’ve compiled a list of all the things that didn’t go so well in 2017.  Your flaws, failures, and weaknesses have been highlighted multiple times. As you gaze at the long list of “not so good things from 2017” you can’t help but ponder all the things you’re going to change in 2018. It starts out as a “Stop it” list or a “Don’t do that” list or a “I’m going to do this more” list. But then you realize as a Christian those phrases are anti-gospel so you dress it up in a nice list called, “GOALS.” That’s right, goals.  We all have them and there’s nothing wrong with them in and of themselves.

Every year in January I spend time reflecting and setting new goals to accomplish in the new year. Personal goals, marital goals, parenting goals, and ministry goals. I get really ambitious. I mean, really ambitious. Before I know it, the list is huge.

In the past couple of years of being in college ministry I’ve found that my list sounds something like this: share the gospel more with students, train more student leaders, plant more groups, disciple more students, and recruit hard for summer mission projects. I reduce my list down to about one or two goals, come up with some action steps, find accountability partners, and off I go.

Within the first few weeks of the semester I’m killing it. Everything I set out to do seems to be happening.  And then.  All of sudden. I begin to drift back into familiar ruts and old failures knock on my door.

What did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong? The questions begin to rise.

And suddenly the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit whispers, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

And then it clicks. Apart from the Holy Spirit’s power our goals are just ink on paper. The ability to accomplish any new goal we set is dependent upon His activity in me. We don’t need something new. We need ancient power from on high if we are going to change our campuses. We need God’s Sprit to divinely meet with our goals if we want to see them accomplished.  In fact, those goals need to come from Him!

We need the words of Moses in Exodus 33:15, “If your presence doesn’t go with us, don’t send us up from here.” So, here is one thing that I’ve learned when it comes to setting goals for ministry – PRAY!

Pray before you set the goals.
Pray while you’re writing them down.
Pray when you’re implementing the goals.

God is looking for men and women who will set kingdom goals bigger than themselves, but he’s looking for men and women to do that while on their knees.

Pursue new goals in the new year, but do it with ancient power.

about the author

Darrick Smith

Darrick is a collegiate consultant with the NoCampusLeft team. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.