Guest post by Jeff Cochran
What do you think of when you hear about setting goals? Many think of resolutions, especially this time of year, but goals are much more than that! Resolutions don’t stick, but goals do. We also think of goals as a personal thing. We think about setting goals as an individual, but not for our ministries.
Setting ministry goals may be a foreign concept to you, and it may be a little uncomfortable. However, it’s well worth the discomfort! Setting goals is often the only difference between those who reach them and those who don’t. If you’re new to setting goals, here are five reasons your youth ministry needs goals this year.
5 Reasons Your Youth Ministry Needs Goals This Year
1) Goals Clarify the WIN
Here’s the deal, it’s hard to win if you don’t know what a win looks like. When I ask youth workers what a win is for their small group leaders, many look at me with blank stares. If we don’t know what the win is for our volunteers, neither do they!
In leadership, clarity is kindness. Clarity of what you want and expect is one of the best gifts you can give to your team. Clarity isn’t just a kindness for those you lead, it’s also kindness for your own self! The best way to win in ministry is to clarify the win and pursue it relentlessly.
Setting goals helps to clarify the win. When you boil down everything your youth ministry will do in the next year to 3-5 things, it clarifies what’s most important. Written goals clarify the path for you, your volunteers, and the entire youth ministry!
2) Goals Push to Performance
Good goals are a little scary because they stretch you. While they excite you on one hand, they are a little uncomfortable on the other. A new year’s resolution to lose weight will mean less than a goal to lose 20lbs in 12 months. The first is easy to hope for while putting off making practical changes. The second will push you to get in gear! It won’t happen by accident, so you know performance is required for progress.
We all have a few things we’ve been wanting to do in youth ministry. You may have wanted to do some of them for years! So why haven’t you done them?
If you’re anything like me, it’s because you never set a written goal to get there. Putting a goal on paper with a deadline changes it from a hope to something you are pursuing.
3) Goals Provide Accountability
Written ministry goals bring accountability with them. Why? Because once you put a goal on paper, the people around you can hold your feet to the fire! When volunteers, parents, and students know what you care about most, they can care about it with you!
You see, you can’t hide from a clear goal set in ink. Good goals don’t just give you an end in mind, they give you a measurable path to get there! They make progress clear to an outside perspective, and you can’t hide from progress or lack there of. Good goals bring accountability with them, and accountability is always a good thing in youth ministry.
4) Goals Require a Plan
If you’re going to reach your goals, it’s going to require a plan. Losing 20 pounds will require a plan to exercise, eat less calories, or take out a second job to pay for liposuction. In the same way, growing your ministry attendance by 10% will require a plan to do something different. If you don’t do something different, you can’t expect different results!
Communicating with parents bi monthly or recruiting five extra volunteers will take similar plans. Putting stretch goals on paper always requires a plan on paper to go with them! What are the tactics you will need to reach the goals you have set? The answer to this question is the beginning of your action plan for the year.
5) Goals Galvanize and Synergize Your Team
Setting goals is one of the best ways to get your youth ministry team on the same page! As a paid youth worker, I eat, breath, and sleep youth ministry. My volunteers have careers and families of their own though. And it can be hard to get everyone focused in one direction and working as a team.
Setting goals will help everyone realize what 3-5 things are most important for the next 365 days. Anything outside of these things is extra, but not the primary goal. When your team knows the direction you’re heading and that everyone is pulling in the same direction together, it will energize them to serve at a whole new level!
These are great reasons for setting ministry goals this year, but let me give you a bonus. It will put you ahead of 99% of student ministries. Nothing else you will do can offer that kind of return!
Only about 1% of people have written goals. The number is probably less for youth ministries. This means that by simply having written goals, you put yourself in the 99th percentile! I believe it’s a way for you and your youth ministry to have your best year yet!
So what will your goals be for this year? Will you take the plunge?
Happy New year, and here’s to your best year yet!
Jeff Cochran is the Pellissippi Campus Student Pastor of Faith Promise Church and leads the http://ymlead.com/ website. He is a veteran youth worker of over 12 years and a DYM author.