In Layman's Terms: App can help set foundation for bold faith goals

Todd Seifert


I’m not really into new year’s resolutions, but I am a pretty big advocate for setting goals.

I’ve always looked at goals as providing some prioritization to my life, but I heard this concept put into a different perspective recently while listening to Pastor Rick Warren’s “Daily Hope” podcast on my way to work. In one of his sermons aimed at helping the Saddleback Church congregation set goals for the new year, he urged his audience to set faith goals. He argued that we spend a lot of time setting resolutions — or goals — for our physical health and for myriad other earthly things, many of which are important, but we ignore the goals that can influence our eternal well-being.

Then, he said something simple yet, at least for me, profound: “Goals are statements of faith.”

In other words, Warren argued, we should set bold goals that stretch us and prompt us to step out in faith. He urged his audience not to short-change themselves by setting small goals tied to a single year, but rather to show faith in God by setting bold, big goals for ministry that may take years to achieve.

I realize some people may not agree 100 percent with Warren’s relatively conservative theology based on a literal reading of the Bible. But I listen to podcasts from a wide range of theological perspectives, and I don’t think many people would disagree with Warren’s premise of setting bold goals that show faith in God working in our lives and in our communities.

So, what big faith goal do you have as we start 2019?

Our communications team has several, from launching several podcasts to an additional online television-like show to our ongoing efforts to foster discipleship in the Great Plains Conference and beyond.

Personally, I am taking my eighth journey through the scriptures, my second venture reading the Bible chronologically with the help of the YouVersion Bible app on my iPad.

This idea of improving our spiritual lives is yet one more topic that allows me to point out a tool we have to help you get started on your goal-setting journey of faith. The Great Plains Conference app has a spiritual fitness area meant to help remind you of the basic building blocks of our faith: reading scripture, praying, attending worship, participating in a small group and serving others.

The app is simple to use on your smartphone or tablet. Just scan the QR code below to get started.

If you don’t have a QR reader on your phone or tablet, don’t worry. Simply go to your app store (Google Play! for Android users) and search for “Great Plains United Methodists.” Install the app for free. Here's how to get to it: From there, you just give yourself a point each time you complete one of those spiritual disciplines. Then, compare your results week to week or month to month to see if you are staying on track. You may even revise goals from time to time, such as to build in more prayer time or to read more scripture.

The point is you only measure yourself against, well, yourself!

By continuously improving on these spiritual disciplines, you can set the foundation on which to build those bold, bigger goals in ministry.

So do me one favor. Download the conference app and give it a try for 30 days. See if it helps you remember to serve others, to pray or to read scripture.

And then set some big goals meant to help currently unchurched or marginal believers come to know the love and grace available through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Todd Seifert is communications director for the Great Plains Conference of the United Methodist Church. He can be reached via phone at 785-414-4224, or via email at Opinions expressed are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Great Plains Annual Conference or the United Methodist Church. Follow him on Twitter, @ToddSeifert.