Body, Mind & Spirit

Each year I ask our church staff to set goals. These goals are to be both personal and professional in nature: They are goals we wish to strive for in our ministries, in our families and in our personal pursuits. I believe this type of goal-setting is vital if we are to pursue our dreams with passion, purpose and determination.

Todd Outcalt


During 2008, I set several goals. And so did the entire staff. One of these involved sharing the Gospel with more people so that the church could continue to grow numerically and in spirit - and in particular, we hoped that we would have more confessions of faith. At year-end, we discovered that more than one-third of the new members we received in 2008 had made a confession of faith, and some of these were even baptized in the creek at my house, including parents, children and entire families.

As a personal goal, I also had made it known that I was going to attempt to read 100 books in a year. I barely sneaked this one in under the wire, but I did it. I read 100 books last year, including titles that ran the gamut from science, history, biography, finance, memoir, nutrition and medicine. And, of course, I read my share of religion books, as well as novels and poetry. Television was generally not a part of my life this past year, and I was all the better for it. But I'm not attempting to repeat this book-reading goal until I retire!

This year I have set other goals on which I am actively working. First, in my ministry, I have renewed my goal of reaching out to more people with God's love. I'm actively looking for new opportunities in my community where I can be a witness and a welcoming heart. I'm going to invite more people to church - even if I am preaching that Sunday and my sermon isn't very good.

And, instead of reading so many books in 2009, even though I love books, I have decided that I'm going to read the entire Bible, from Genesis through Revelation. I've invited the congregation to join me, and to follow my blog ( as I share my odd and demented assortment of biblical insights. I never realized the Bible could be this much fun to read, but I'm having a blast trying to find new nuggets of truth and unique angles from which to discuss the Bible.

Finally, I have set other personal goals, too - like being a better husband and a better father. Lots of ways I can improve there, and I've got some concrete changes on which I'm going to work.

This brings me to you. What are your goals in 2009? Are you actively pursing them? Do you hold them up to review each day? What new pursuits could guide your ministry, your family or your personal life?

Todd Outcalt serves as senior pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church in Brownsburg.