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Episode 55 - 28 Oct 2019

The Key to Focusing on the Right Things

On today's Church Leadership Podcast, Adam and John discuss how to stay focused on the right things. Understanding the difference between "goals" and "desires" is a crucial skill for every leader. Listen in as Adam provides us with a simple and practical framework that starts with folding a piece of paper in half. For show notes and more from the Church Leadership Podcast, visit:

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Episode Summary


A goal is something only you can accomplish and is largely within your control.

A desire is something you want and is *largely outside your control *or depends on someone else's effort to accomplish.

Properly categorizing our goals and desires is an incredibly pragmatic way of going about life. Knowing what is under our control and what isn't is crucial to finding joy in work and ministry. If we are consistently setting goals (things we are saying are in our control) that are actually desires (things we cannot control) we will only become discouraged or exhausted.

There is a reason that the Bible often uses farming analogies when framing our work and successes. What we can control are the inputs to a scenario (planting the seeds). However, there will often be elements that we cannot control (whether or not it rains). It is these things that we must entrust to the Lord. We need to be able to understand whether something we want to accomplish is up to our effort alone, or the work of others/God himself.

Here are some practical examples:
1. Watching all 8 Star Wars movies prior to the release of Episode 9 is a goal - This is something up to your scheduling and foresight prior to December 20th, 2019 (when The Rise of Skywalker is released).
2. For many, completing a marathon successfully is a desire - While the training and preparation for running a marathon is in your control, you cannot control many of the circumstances around actually running it. You cannot control whether you get sick, trip and fall, or mess up your back mid-race.
3. Growing the size of your church is a desire - This is something often talked about among church leaders. However, church growth is ultimately up to the Lord.
4. Contacting everyone who visited your church for the first time this Sunday is a goal - Assuming the number is not beyond what you could accomplish personally, this is something you can control.
5. Recording a great podcast is a desire - While you can control the amount of effort that goes into producing a podcast, creating anything that will be judged subjectively is ultimately out of your control. You cannot manipulate listeners to like something if they choose not to.
6. Exercising 10 times a month is a goal - This may be intimidating initially, but you are able to control the intensity and duration of your workouts.
7. Improving your marriage is a desire - While you personally can work to improve yourself (a goal), you are not able to control your spouse. Improving your marriage requires participation from someone other than yourself.

When you are creating or listing goals you have, process them through a framework and ask whether the results are actually under your control. If the output of a scenario are not entirely up to you, then it is a desire and should be held with open hands.

Know that vision casting is a crucial part to all organizations. Continue to dream big, but always strive to take wise next steps and look for the ways you can contribute practically to your desires. For everything else, it is an opportunity to trust others and pray.

Hosted By
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John McGee

Sr. Director of Watermark Resources

A tarnow
Adam Tarnow

Cohost of Church Leadership Podcast