Still Stuck -part 2

In my last article I talked about the importance of being intentional about growth.  The problem is that unless we are deliberate about learning, growing, developing and maturing in our life and faith, we almost certainly will not!

So here's a way to develop a 1 Year Personal Growth Plan, that can help you get out of the rut.  This is a tool that I have used personally for several years, and I have seen it pay great dividends in the lives of some of the leaders that I coach and mentor.  Several of the principles involved are based on Developing a One Year Growth Plan by Nelson Searcy.  The purpose of it is not to try to accomplish your own plans by your own effort, but rather to begin to seek God specifically and consistently about where He is wanting to work in your life and to lead you in the year ahead.  The great thing about it is that you can get started today!

Steps to an effective Personal Growth Plan

1. Pray! Seek the Lord concerning what He is doing in your life and where He desires to work.

2. Write down some categories on a sheet of paper and spend time reflecting on them and asking the Lord to teach you how to honor Him in each area, examples might be as follows:
  • Rest & Refreshment
  • Spiritual Growth/Relationship with God
  • Educational Learning/Personal Development
  • Family
  • Other – this may include: financial, physical, professional or church related
3. Prayerfully turn the categories into outcome statements e.g. Learn how to incorporate refreshing times of rest into my weekly, monthly and annual schedule. Then ask God to give you wisdom as to some specific steps to accomplish each outcome. Try not to make your list too long!

4. Reflect on what you have written down and consider are these:
  • Consistent with Biblical Teaching
  • Important in your life 
  • Motivated by personal pride or by the prompting of God 
  • Things that you have to trust God for or things that you are trying to do by your own effort (I like try each year to as the Lord to show we one specific thing that is utterly impossible for me, that I must trust Him for) 
5.   Turn these ideas into goals – Make sure your goals are:

Specific – instead of saying “I want to grow in my walk with God” be specific, for example “I want to grow in my walk with God by spending daily time in prayer, Bible study and journaling.” One area where most believers need to be specific is in their Bible reading and study, what will you read and when?

Measurable – You have to be able to evaluate whether you are following your plan. Instead of saying “I want to pray more” you could say “I want to dedicate at least 10 minutes every day to prayer)

Achievable – Goals should challenge, but they should not frustrate! It is better to begin with a few goals than a long list of them. Often times we over-estimate what we can do in a couple of months but under-estimate what we can do in a year.

Realistic – It has been said that the Christian life is more like a marathon than a sprint. If you have never run a race before it is foolish to think you can run a marathon without working up to it. Is your desire to spend 3 hours a day in prayer realistic? Maybe you could start by saying “I will spend 20 minutes each day in prayer this month and plan to add 5 more minutes each month”

Timely – When do you plan to begin and how long do you plan to measure this over?

6.  Review what you have come up with and take a few minutes to pray through each one

7. List the resources that you need to get in order to work on your goals (e.g. If you plan to read a particular book then you may need to go out and buy it, or if you plan to begin journaling then you need to make sure you have a journal)

8. Mark on a calendar important dates associated with your plan

9. Share your plan with someone else and ask them to pray for you and help to keep you accountable

10. Keep a copy of your plan somewhere you will look at it regularly and be sure to take time to pray over it and evaluate it regularly


  1. Great post Tim. Just like any area of our lives, if we want improvements we need to be intention, create a plan and stick to it. The same is true for spiritual growth. Thanks for that reminder and great advice for how to create a good plan.


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