Everyone working to learn the practice of ministry needs at least one or two of these. When I ask students to imagine this kind of goal, I’m urging them to think long-term and big-picture, to set goals that will take a lifetime to meet. For example “I want to cultivate a spiritual practice that allows the Spirit to nourish my ministry of accompanying people in grief.”
This week, I will be meeting with a new class of students at St. John’s University School of Theology and Seminary. These students will be setting learning goals for our course “Prayer and Pastoral Care.” I will invite them to think beyond the course and to set goals for their ministries. Then we will explore how the course can move them toward those big, squishy goals.
Here is our focus for the course.
Prayer & Pastoral Care: Course Description and Purpose
An exploration of the pastoral care dimensions of prayer, as a sustaining practice that 1) enriches the communal life of faith; 2) responds with care for individuals (e.g., in a pastoral visit); 3) nurtures the vocation of ministry; and 4) sustains movements for justice. The course explores the context, values, theological commitments and psychological frameworks assumed in various forms of prayer.
Whether you are focused on pastoral care, activism for justice, preaching, leading faith formation, or military chaplaincy, your practice of ministry can flourish when you aspire to the fullness of your calling.
Here’s more on how to set a big squishy goal and then get in touch with what really matters about that goal.
One of the major points of this three-part series on setting goals is that if we start with our values in a simple, straightforward way, we are likely to write goals that are not very inspiring.When we ask ourselves directly about our values, as human beings we tend to say the things that are expected and normal.
Expected and normal values are not really in themselves necessarily a problem. However, values and goals that are arrived at in this direct way, can lead to work that maintains the status quo. They can lack urgency or aspiration. In short they can miss the sense of what really matters.
So, how can you set goals for your practice of ministry that will really be aspirational? That will help you flourish in ministry? Goals that will matter to you and to those who serve?