Setting Goals Individually and Corporately
Reflect and Dream With the year coming to an end and a new year fast approaching, now is a great opportunity to reflect on what God has done over the past year, both in your personal life and in your church, and dream about what he might do in the year ahead. First, spend time confronting the brutal facts, whatever they may be. Second, renew your faith in the greatness of God (Ps. 145:1-3) and dream about what he can do in the year ahead. How will next year be different? What do you hope to accomplish? What do you want to see God do in you and in your church? Essential to making dreams a reality is setting and writing down SMART, theologically driven goals that flow from your God-given roles and then align your schedule to reflect these goals. Let’s unpack this.
Your goals should flow from your God-given roles.
Before you launch yourself into a goal setting party, step back and clarify your God-given individual roles in life. If you don’t clarify this, there’s a great chance your schedule might end up being filled up by everything except that which is truly important. It’s important to not just set goals, but that your goals flow from your roles. Here are my God-given roles: Christian, husband, father, member of RHC, and pastor of RHC.
Your goals should be theologically driven goals.
It’s also important that you set the right goals. Individually, our goals should be informed by God’s plan for each of these roles. As a Christian, I should make goals related to learning more about God through Bible intake, following Jesus through imitation and obedience, loving and serving others, sharing the gospel and discipling believers to maturity in Christ. Similarly, I should discern what God says about being a husband, dad, church member, and businessman and make goals respectively. Corporately, churches should make goals that flow from the purposes of the local church (evangelism, discipleship, missions, etc.). Don’t just accomplish goals; accomplish the right goals.
Write down your goals.
Our experience has confirmed what we’ve learned from others, that we accomplish significantly more when we write down our goals (and you should write goals for each role in life). In addition to writing down your goals, create some kind of rhythm to review them frequently by asking, “what’s the next step that needs to happen in order to move closer to reaching this goal? Finally, share your goals with a select few people who can help you achieve them.
We challenge everyone at RHC three times a year to write down 3-5 SMART goals for how they will own the mission and vision of our church. We also do this with all of our staff in something we call “trimester reviews” (Winter/Spring, Summer, Fall). In these reviews, we confront the brutal facts from the previous trimester and then write down SMART goals for the upcoming trimester.
Make sure your goals are SMART goals.
Most of us know that we should be making goals but we often fail because we don’t make SMART goals. Michael Hyatt says that in order for a goal to be SMART, it must be:
- Specific: Be specific about what you hope to accomplish.
- Measurable: Quantify the result so you’ll know whether you hit the goal or not.
- Actionable: Begin every goal with an action verb.
- Realistic: Balance great faith with realistic and attainable goals. Hyatt says, “I go right up to the edge of my comfort zone and then step over it.”
- Time-bound: Be specific about when you plan to deliver on this goal because, “A goal without a date is just a dream.”
This past year at RHC we created a vision for RHC from Ephesians using three key words: Love, Build and Grow, and then we challenged our people to make SMART goals for how they would own this vision.
- I will tell someone about Jesus at least once a month.
- I will contribute systematically and sacrificially to help us reach our $312,500 goal.
- I will prioritize weekly worship in order to behold the glory of God with RHC.
- I will pursue covenant membership at RHC.
- I will engage in one-to-one Bible reading with a friend.
Align your schedule to help you accomplish your goals.
Finally, your theologically derived goals should then make it to your schedule/calendar. A question we should all continually ask is whether our week reflects the goals that we desire to accomplish?