Let’s talk spiritual growth goals for the New Year! I legit remember at the beginning of every new year when we were serving in youth ministry, the Youth Pastor would talk about goals. And pretty much without fail, every kid (and most adults) would come back with “grow closer to God” as one of their New Years Resolutions. Which is cool… but there are really 2 major problems with this approach. First of all, it’s a very vague goal, and as with any goal, if there’s no strategy behind that, it’s not very likely to happen. Also, spiritual growth goals are not easy to measure, like a weight loss goal or a savings goal, so it takes more intentionality and reflection to track progress.
4 Tips to Set Spiritual Growth Goals for the New Year
1. Define what spiritual growth looks like for you
- Does spiritual growth look like memorizing a new scripture every month? Every week? Does it look like consistently getting in the Word and going to church weekly?
- Maybe it looks like worrying less or snapping at your kids (or dog, just being real) less. Maybe spiritual growth looks like going to church every week.
- Identify what trackable things you can use and what things (like being less anxious) that you’re just going to have to make note of.
2. Honestly evaluate your past and current spiritual growth habits
- One of the best personal growth and spiritual growth habits we can get into is simply being honest with ourselves and God. There’s no point in putting up a front with yourself or God. It won’t get you any further or help you grow.
- One of my favorite Steven Furtick quotes (that I have now adpted as my own) is this:
God cannot bless who you pretend to bePastor Steven Furtick
- Ask yourself: what spiritual growth habits have you consistently had? None? Ok, that’s fine. Start from scratch and build. But if you are already good at something such as listening to worship music in the car instead of depressing news or trash rap, build on that.
3. How much time can you carve out for Bible study?
- As much as I wish we could all spend several hours per day studying the Bible, I realize that’s not practical or sustainable for most of us. And to be honest, most of us would fail miserably if we tried to go from 0 hours per day to 4 hours per day anyway.
- There’s no way around it; you WILL have to change your personal habits and schedule to make Bible study a habit.
4. What are you willing to cut out?
- I hear it all the time “I’m too busy to ______” But the truth of the matter is this: we make time for what matters to us.
- If you have social media in your life, I’m willing to bet that you could easily cut out 15-30 minutes spent scrolling social media and put that towards a consistent Bible reading habit.
Now, let’s make a plan for your spiritual growth!
C’mon now, let’s be real, all that above is no god if you don’t actually have a PLAN to grow!
1. Daily deposits add up
- I know that it’s tempting to try to grow leaps and bounds within the first hour of making a new goal. But most sustained growth doesn’t happen that way.
The Lord Yahweh has equipped meIsaiah 50:4 TPT
with the anointed, skillful tongue[a] of a teacher—
to know how to speak a timely word to the weary.
Morning by morning, he awakens my heart.
He opens my ears[b] to hear his voice, to be trained to teach.[c]
- God wants to walk with us daily. That requires daily action on our part as well.
2. Get a physical Bible (not just your phone) that you enjoy picking up and can easily understand
- King James is cool but easy to understandith, it is not.
- There are so many options for excellent English translations these days! My personal favorites are these:
- One of the best ways to “track” spiritual growth is to journal. Just get honest with God and with yourself in your journal time. Write about the things on your heart, the questions you have, the scriptures that stand out to you, and the prayers that you prayed. If you make all of these things a habit, I bet you’ll be amazed at the growth you see when you look back at your writings a year from now.
- We live in such an amazing time that we can pop in some earbuds and have access to great preaching with the push of a button any time of the day.
- Some of my favorite podcasts are these:
- Trey Johnson Ministries
- Believers Voice of Victory podcast
- Victory Center Church
5. Get planted in a local church
- I know that this is a touchy subject. So many people I’ve talked to have either had a hard time finding a church that they love or they’ve been hurt by other people in church. Without excusing unloving or immoral behavior, can I get real? We are ALL imperfect. And our greatest growth comes from being in close, consistent proximity to other imperfect humans. Now, more than ever, we NEED the family that comes with being planted in a local, life giving, Bible teaching church.
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
As you look forward to the new year, or heck, maybe you’re just ready for a fresh start this hour, let me encourage you with this:
The most important and long-lasting growth you will ever pursue is in your spiritual development. All other goals and growth plans are meaningless if you are not pursuing the heart of your Father and growing to know Him more with each passing year. My prayer for you (and myself) is that God would give you a hunger to know Him more than you’ve ever known Him before and that you (and I) would have the discipline and the grace to walk out what He asks us to do.