Getting Clarity about 2024

By Rick Warren 

Has God given you what feels like an impossible assignment? Maybe he is leading your church to reach a new community or meet an additional need. Maybe you’re in the middle of starting a new church among people who desperately need to hear about Jesus.

You’re not the first-person God has given an impossible task. Take Joshua, for example. In Deuteronomy 7:1, Moses told the Israelites about the land that Joshua would lead them to possess after Moses died. Seven nations inhabited the land. All of them were stronger than Israel. 

It must have looked impossible to Joshua. But God made a promise to him. It’s the same promise he makes to you: “Be strong and brave. Be sure to obey all the teachings my servant Moses gave you. If you follow them exactly, you will be successful in everything you do. Always remember what is written in the Book of the Teachings. Study it day and night to be sure to obey everything that is written there. If you do this, you will be wise and successful in everything” (Joshua 1:7-8 NCV). 

God’s Word gives us a blueprint for success, no matter what kind of impossible odds we face in 2024 and beyond. Joshua 1 (NCV) gives a foolproof plan any pastor can use to find ministry success in 2024.

It starts in the first four verses of the book, where God lays out a clear direction for Joshua. God tells him what to do, when to do it, and where to go: 

  • WHAT: “You and all these people go across the Jordan River into the land I am giving to the Israelites” (v. 2).
  • WHEN: “Now . . .” (v. 2).
  • WHERE: “All the land from the desert in the south to Lebanon in the north will be yours. All the land from the great river, the Euphrates, in the east, to the Mediterranean Sea in the west will be yours, too, including the land of the Hittites” (v. 4).

Joshua had specific direction. You can’t take on the impossible in 2024 unless you, too, know what God is specifically calling you to do.

I talk to pastors all the time who don’t really know where they are going with their family or their church. They’re frustrated. They say things like, “I’m a caretaker of this ministry, just maintaining this ministry.” When I press them about their specific goals for their ministry, their descriptions get fuzzy. 

Everybody needs a clear, specific goal. Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific. Having a clear direction gives your church a magnetic pull.

I saw this many times in my ministry at Saddleback. If you’re familiar with our story, you know we waited for years to have a building of our own. In fact, the church grew to over 10,000 in attendance before we had a building. We didn’t start looking for land until we were five years old, and then it took us years to find the right plot. 

I’ll never forget when we finally secured the land and were ready to move onto the property. We put everything into that move. We planned to worship in a tent on the property as we made plans to build. As we prepared for that move, attendance grew, giving grew, and the morale of the congregation grew. 

When everyone is on the same page about a goal at your church, it’ll propel your church forward.

Before you tackle the impossible this year, make sure you’re clear—and everyone else on your team is clear—about what God is calling your church to do. Spend time in prayer. Don’t move forward without clarity.