Downtown Cornerstone Blog
Jul 6

Goals vs Desires

Teaching | by Pastor Adam Sinnett

This past winter* I came across a distinction that was incredibly helpful to me: Goals vs Desires. This distinction helped to clarify my expectations and the emotions inevitably tied to those expectations. Understanding this will help breathe greater freedom and joy into your life and ministry; it has for me. The distinction is simple, but subtle. Goals are objectives under your control; desires are not.

Goals are objectives under your control; desires are not.

For example, if you want to see 50 people baptized in the next year, that would be a desire but not a goal because you cannot control the outcome. You can influence the outcome, but not control it. In this case, your desire is to baptize 50 people in the next year. Your goals, however, should be directly tied to whatever will most likely help bring your desire about (e.g. gospel-centered sermons, intentional prayer, cultivating missional communities, equipping your people to live with gospel intentionality, teaching on baptism, etc). In this way, we work toward our goals and pray for our desires.

We WORK toward our goals and PRAY for our desires.

When we confuse goals and desires it can easily lead to pride and arrogance (because we subtly believe we can control people, like God) or depression and bitterness (because we’re trying, and failing, to control something that is outside our control). But, when we keep this distinction in mind it reminds us we’re responsible to work wisely toward our goals while trusting deeply in God who offers us the true desires of our heart.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Ps 37:3-4

* I picked this up at the Global Church Advancement training in Orlando, Florida. This particular material was delivered in a session by Steve Childers, Priorities – The Main Thing. If you’re an aspiring church planter, or within the first two years, I highly recommend this conference.