I remember sitting in what I reckon was my first Pastors conference. I was 24, fresh out of Bible College and had just started a church with 30 random strangers. The church had grown to about 50 or 60 people, and now I was in the conference.
New clothes, new brief cases, new conversations – that was the atmosphere of this conference. Most of us in the room were church planters and we were all in the early stages of planting churches. We were filled with enthusiasm and passion. We sat eagerly and expectant at what these “seasoned” leaders were going to teach us.
“Set a goal and write it down”. I remember hearing that clearly. It was this first time I had heard something in this vein that had a direct impact on me. As I heard the speaker share about his goal setting experience, I could almost taste the success of my first goal setting adventure. I too was going to set a goal, hit it out the park, and be sharing at the next gathering of pastors on the power of setting goals.
I left that conference and did what I needed to do. I set a goal of how many people I wanted to see come to our new and young church in the bustling small town of Empangeni. 240 was the number. By the end of the year we would grow to 240 people.
I can still feel the let down when the end of the year came and we had about 120 people coming to the church. In fact, the church grew from those 50 or 60 people to 150, then back to 120. I was devastated. I simply never set another “numbers” goal for a very long time after that. In fact – I became very wary of the goal setting game. I rationalized the goal setting thing as “unspiritual”.
Lesson 1 – one bad experience or failure should never be the conclusive take-away from about just about everything in life.
There’s another weird way of saying that – “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
Next time I will talk about keeping the baby.