State of Stephen 2022

2022 was quite a year. I published a second book and wrote two more. I finished up time on the RCA Commission on Theology and replaced it with work on the Regional Synod of Canada, the board of Brantford Christian School, and teaching a class at Western Theological Seminary. Even when I write down goals in January, I never know what God has in store for me in a given year. This year seemed to get fuller as time went on, but I feel like I grew to meet each of the challenges. 

Thanks for sticking with me. Let’s look at the nine goals I set for 2022 and how I did: 

  1. Start an Education Fund for each of my children by March 31, 2022


  • to provide for my children’s education
  • to help my children begin adult life without significant debt. 

Status: Completed

Comments: This was my only financial goal for the year and was pretty straight forward. My parents had set up an education fund when I was a child and paid into it yearly until I started college, which meant that I was able to attend a private Christian liberal arts college and not exit with crippling debt. This has been a huge blessing as I have entered adulthood and I wanted to offer the same to my children. This took a little longer than anticipated because we had to wait until my Permanent Residency card came in and I had more permanent documentation so that my wife and I could both be named on the account. 

  1. Publish my second book, “Rooted: Growing in Christ in a Rootless Age” on June 7, 2022


  • to build up the church using my gifts
  • to provide a steady revenue stream that can be used for other projects
  • to learn more about publishing and marketing

Status: Completed

Comments: We did it! There has been such a great response from those that have read the book and I am so grateful for all the support. This goal was a ton of work: writing, editing, design, publishing, marketing. Olga deserves as much credit as I do for this book coming to completion. We were able to make something we are proud of and that, hopefully, has been a blessing to others. You can check out the book here.

  1. Three special outings with each child in 2022.


  • to grow closer to my children
  • to create memories with my kids
  • to show love and care to my children

Status: Incomplete (33% finished)

Comments: I regularly struggle with parental goals. I think it has more to do with how I write the goals than anything to do with my motivation. Early in the year, I did have an individual lunch with each of my kids, but then we tried to do lots of different things to bond as a family. We played games together, took a two week road trip, and I made up stories for them every night for a while. I do think I grew closer to my children this year, even if I didn’t complete the goal itself. 

  1. Research and write draft 1.0 of a third book by September 30, 2022


  • to share my gifts with the wider church
  • to be a student of Herman Bavinck
  • to learn more about academic writing
  • to grow as a writer

Status: Complete (book will be published on March 21, 2023)

Comments: I am much better at moving on to the next project than celebrating the one I completed. As I was publishing Rooted, I was already at work on what would become All Things Hold Together. Each book project has been different and stretched me in significant ways. Our Only Comfort was a devotional, Rooted is a work of biblical theology and christian discipleship, but All Things Hold Together is my first foray into philosophical theology. Part of the development of most good theologians is learning to be a student of another theologian. I wanted to learn from Herman Bavinck, but could not pursue any further formal education right now. So as I was reading through his book, Christian Worldview, I realized that his vision for all of life being held together by the creating and redeeming God was needed in a world that feels like it is falling apart. However, his arguments were complicated and his writing was very academic, so I wanted to translate his ideas into something that could be read today (100 years later) by a lay audience. I am pleased with how the book is turning out. We are in the ‘final polish’ stage and working to secure endorsements for the book. 

  1. Visit 35 different families, as a pastor, in 2022.


  • to grow closer to the people entrusted to my care
  • to broaden those I visit
  • to provide the care of souls to a weary congregation

Status: Complete

Comments: Previously, I had made goals to conduct a certain number of visits through the year. However, I found that I tended to gravitate toward visiting the same set of people frequently while (unconsciously) avoiding others. Some people are easier and more enjoyable to talk to and can feel more rewarding for me as a pastor trying to care for the souls of my congregation. Yet, I knew that any form of favoritism in my pastoral care was wrong, so I set out to visit more widely by focusing on the number of different homes I would enter this year. I did still visit some people more than others (this is normal), but the practice of visiting more broadly was important for our congregation as we finally moved out of COVID restrictions in late March of this year. 

  1. Write 50,000 words of a novel for NaNoWriMo between November 1 and November 30, 2022.


  • to learn to write fiction
  • to enjoy telling stories
  • to practice finishing writing projects

Status: Incomplete -> Changed to “Write Draft 1.0 of a fourth book by November 30, 2022”

Comments: I had great plans for writing a choose-your-own-adventure middle grade novel during November of this year. I had some character sketches and outlines done, but as I finished Rooted and All Things Hold Together, I wanted to keep the momentum going instead of switching gears to fiction. In September I started working on a short handbook on how to read biblical genealogies. Hopefully the resulting book, The Sinews of Scripture, will come out next summer. 

  1. Do 30,000 pushups in 2022.


  • increase strength
  • increase physical stamina

Status: Complete

Comments: I hated this goal. Originally, I figured it would get easy to do about 100 pushups a day (it did) and that the result would be a much improved physique (nope). Out of sheer stubbornness, I continued and completed this goal, but I stopped enjoying it about 8 months into the year. Next year’s fitness goal involves me taking a nap, so I think I will enjoy that one more. 

  1. Finish well my term on the Commission on Theology by writing the initial draft of our paper before the January 2022 meeting and presenting our report (including the paper) to General Synod 2022.


  • to have a lasting impact on how the RCA thinks and does its work
  • to be faithful with the time God has given me on COT

Status: Complete

Comments: I spent six years serving on the Commission on Theology, three years as moderator. I have had a hand in authoring numerous papers for the RCA during that time, which has been a joy. As I finished on the commission, I wanted to make sure I finished strong and with work I could be proud of. 

  1. Pray through the entire psalter in the span of a month. 


  • to draw near to the LORD
  • to find rest and rejuvenation in God
  • to learn to pray

Status: Complete

Comments: This has been a busy year. However, the more my schedule has filled up, the more I realized my need for intentional time in prayer. Leading prayer in worship is good, but I also need time alone with the Lord. I also know how to pray, but am constantly learning. This year, I wanted to spend time in the prayer book that God has given his church, the psalms. The practice rekindled my love of the psalms. I would highly recommend it, especially if you have a book like Trevin Wax’s Psalms in 30 Days to guide you. 


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