Time Out: You need a target in your sights before you shoot

Topic / Time Out

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

As pastors, we enter ministry to serve God and change the world for Him, but somewhere along the way we find that our ministry has become a job that only brings in a weekly paycheck. We started the journey with specific dreams and goals we wanted to accomplish before we picked up expectations from the senior pastor, parents, and others in the church. Then we go to a conference or read an article and find out more worthy goals that we should accomplish. Before long, we’re trying to meet all the expectations and, in so doing, find that we don’t meet any of them. How can we know which goals to pursue and which ones to drop? Perhaps all are worthy, but not all can be accomplished. So what should we do? Should we pick the easiest, the most flashy, the ones that make us look best? Or should we choose the hardest, the most challenging?

Clearly, there is no right or wrong answer. We can only focus on one thing: God’s vision for our ministry. He has a plan and a purpose for us and our service for Him. He has a path for us to follow, an image to be created. He wants all of us to become like Jesus. That is His goal for every believer, but how that goal translates for each of us will be different, as is the path He leads us on. What is God’s plan for your ministry, your marriage, your students? What are His dreams and plans for you and those you serve? Often, we purchase a program or curriculum because it looks attractive to us when we should first know God’s vision for those we minister. We must first be able to see the complete picture. Only then can we start seeking a program or curriculum to paint that picture.

Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

Philippians 3:10-14, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Spend some time in prayer asking God to share His vision for your life and ministry. Get away for a few hours or a whole day — whatever it takes for you to feel you understand what He wants to accomplish through you. Then, and only then, can you start to look at programs or curriculum to accomplish this vision.

  • What does God want to see in the lives of the people you serve ten years from now?
  • What should you be doing, today and tomorrow, to move in that direction?
  • Write down a description of what you believe God’s vision is your ministry. Re-read it and pray about it every day for the next week.


Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!

Posted on March 9, 2008

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