Our year ends today. It's been a crazy year, but our responsibilities as believers haven't changed. On that basis, here are some questions I use to evaluate the past year in preparation for setting next year's goals:
- Will I complete my Bible reading plan by the end of the year? I'm not "locked in" to finishing the plan or else, but I do want to strive toward that goal.
- Am I a stronger or weaker prayer warrior this year? I trust I keep learning to pray—but not asking the question could mean I'm not as concerned about prayer growth as I should be.
- How many times did I share the gospel this past year? I also want to know how many people have followed the Lord through my ministry, but I'm more burdened about making sure I at least shared the good news.
- What's been my percentage of giving to God's work this year? Sometimes, my evaluation has shown I've given more dollars, but less percentage of my income than the previous year. I don't want that to happen.
- Would my wife (and children, if we had any) say that I'm more Christlike this year than last year? Our hearts are deceitful enough that it's tough to evaluate ourselves—but our families are often brutally honest.
- What unreached people group(s) is/are prayed for more this past year because of my own prayer commitment? This question, of course, reflects my missions heart. Ideally, I will have also led my family and church to intercede for people for whom few others are praying.
- Am I in better or worse physical shape at the end of this year? Taking care of our God-given body is part of our spiritual responsibility before our Creator. Neglecting it is a poor witness, in my estimation.
- Would my pastor (or, my church members if I'm the pastor) say I've shown commitment to, and love for, the local body of Christ this year? That's a complicated question in this COVID year, but it's still a necessary one.
- Is there an ongoing, controlling sin I've been unable to shake this past year? If so, I need to quickly talk with someone, build accountability into my life and fight for godliness in 2021.
- What did I want to accomplish this year that I haven't done? This is a catch-all question, but that's the point. Answering it now will help me set some goals for 2021.
Chuck Lawless is dean of doctoral studies and vice president of spiritual formation and ministry centers at Southeastern Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, where he also serves as professor of evangelism and missions. In addition, he is team leader for theological education strategists for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.
This article originally appeared at chucklawless.com.
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