GOOOOOOOAAAL!

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The soccer game stretched across the wall of the Toronto Nike store. A crowd of people who had been released from the clutches of retail therapy were now engrossed in the competition and excellence that the Euro Cup displayed. The gathered crowd collectively winced at the fallen midfielder. After each play, some of the bystanders resumed shopping while others watched as the ball was set and kicked, their eyes locked on the team working together.

Weaving, cutting, and shifting like pieces being moved in a human chess match. A shot was fired on goal and the keeper dove to save his team from the clutches of a tie score. The shot deflected wide, setting up for a corner kick. The team took their places. The defenders matched their opponents pose and protected the net with their whole beings. The cross floated in from the corner. The ball dropped, bounced, deflected, and then like a bullet from a gun, shot past the keeper and lifted the back net. The crowd screamed with delight.

Fifty strangers united and yelled with the announcer, "GOOOOOAALLLL!"

In ministry, moments of such collaboration, excellence, and finesse are rare (if not unheard of). What if it didn’t have to be that way? What if a clear goal helped each ministry coordinator, pastor, coffee server, and parking lot attendant strive for more? And what if we all celebrated together?  

Do you have goals in your ministry role?

Do you know what it would take to pull off that goal? What would be needed? Do you know who to talk to help you get there?

Folks in ministry often have a hard time with the idea of goals and goal setting. We like a good plan instead of a clear goal. But a good plan in the wrong direction doesn’t get you where you want to go. A good goal with a good plan leads to celebrations of Nike store proportions.

Having a clear goal is vital to a thriving ministry. A clear goal hones the collaborative trajectory and increases individual impact. For example, Pastor Ramona really wanted to have sermon texts picked out for every worship service for the year. So she set a goal. She wrote down on her calendar that by the end of the January she’d have the whole year outlined. The month went by and the calendar marker got pushed back to February. Ramona's goal went unmet.

What if the pastor added two key elements for reaching her goal? The first is accountability.

Goals are more likely to be met if we add accountability. Pastor Ramona set a date on her calendar for the end of January and then she added accountability. She said, “Hey Todd, I’m going to get my sermon texts laid out for the next year and I’m going to share it with you by the end of the month.”

Todd was excited about Ramona putting in so much thought and planning because this would help him do his work better. They both were really excited that the goal would be met. Ramona created accountability. Accountability doesn’t have to be with a supervisor or elders. It can be with a friend or a co-worker. It needs to be someone who will ask you “Did you do it?” and if you say “No,” they respond with, “Why not?” and “When?”

Accountability is a key element to completing a goal but on its own it lacks the element of motivation. Ramona would experience pressure to complete her year plan from the children's coordinator by the end of the month, but all Ramona gets when she completes the goal is a thumbs up from Todd. And that's great! A thumbs up can motivate people. 

But accountability combined with an incentive is where motivation lies. Perhaps Ramona tells Todd she will complete her plan by the end of the month—and when she does—they will celebrate by getting a donut from the new bakery. Now Ramona has an incentive to complete her goal.

And so at the end of the month, Todd, Ramona, and Betsy the worship coordinator all go out for donuts! 

The soccer game stretched across the wall of the Toronto Nike store. A crowd of people who had been released from the clutches of retail therapy were now engrossed in the competition and excellence that the Euro Cup displayed. The gathered crowd collectively winced at the fallen midfielder. After each play, some of the bystanders resumed shopping while others watched as the ball was set and kicked, their eyes locked on the team working together.

Weaving, cutting, and shifting like pieces being moved in a human chess match. A shot was fired on goal and the keeper dove to save his team from the clutches of a tie score. The shot deflected wide setting up for a corner kick. The team took their places. The defenders matched their opponents pose and protected the net with their whole being. The cross floated in from the corner. The ball dropped, bounced, deflected, and then like a bullet from a gun, shot past the keeper and lifted the back net. The crowd screamed with delight.

Fifty strangers united and yelled with the announcer, "GOOOOOAALLLL!"

In ministry, moments of such collaboration, excellence, and finesse are rare (if not unheard of). What if it didn’t have to be that way? What if a clear goal helped each ministry coordinator, pastor, coffee server, and parking lot attendant strive for more? And what if we all celebrated together?  

Do you have goals in your ministry role?

Do you know what it would take to pull off that goal? What would be needed? Do you know who to talk to help you get there?

Folks in ministry often have a hard time with the idea of goals and goal setting. We like a good plan instead of a clear goal. But a good plan in the wrong direction doesn’t get you where you want to go. A good goal with a good plan leads to celebrations of Nike store proportions.

Having a clear goal is vital to a thriving ministry. A clear goal hones the collaborative trajectory and increases individual impact. For example, Pastor Ramona really wanted to have sermon texts picked out for every worship service for the year. So she set a goal. She wrote down on her calendar that by the end of the January she’d have the whole year outlined. The month went by, the calendar marker got pushed back to February. And her goal went unmet.

What if the pastor added two key elements for reaching her goal? The first is accountability.

Goals are more likely to be met if we add accountability. Pastor Ramona set a date on her calendar for the end of January and then she added accountability. She said, “Hey Todd, I’m going to get my sermon texts laid out for the next year and I’m going to share it with you by the end of the month.”

Todd was excited about Ramona putting in so much thought and planning because this would help him do his work better. They both were really excited that the goal would be met. Ramona created accountability. Accountability doesn’t have to be with a supervisor or elders. It can be with a friend or a co-worker. It needs to be someone who will ask you “Did you do it?” and if you say “No,” they respond with, “Why not?” and “When?”

Accountability is a key element to completing a goal but on its own it lacks the element of motivation. Ramona would experience pressure to complete her year plan from the children's coordinator by the end of the month, but all Ramona gets when she completes the goal is a thumbs up from Todd. And that's great! A thumbs up can motivate people. 

But accountability combined with an incentive is where motivation lies. If Ramona shares with Todd that she will complete the year plan by the end of the month, and when she does, they will celebrate by leaving work and getting a donut from the new donut shop. Now Ramona has an incentive to complete her goal.

And so at the end of the month, Todd, Ramona, and Betsy the worship coordinator all go out for donuts to celebrate the completion of a goal.

A donut doesn’t have the same elation as firing a ball into the back of the net and then receiving praise from thousands of people but it is sweet and rewarding.

As you move away from this post write down your goal for this week, month, and year. Share it. And celebrate every time you complete a goal.

uts to celebrate the completion of a goal.

A donut doesn’t have the same elation as firing a ball into the back of the net and then receiving praise from thousands of people but it is sweet and rewarding.

As you move away from this post write down your goal for this week, month, and year. Share it. And celebrate every time you complete a goal.

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Good post Sam! I would like to add to it by saying that our goals should include results like attaining a more full filling prayer life or understanding scripture in a more intimate way. We need to set out a result goal along with the steps to get there is what I am getting at! Both go together! Thx and God bless you!

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It is a good story to encourage goal setting. Do you have examples churches that have set goals and created accountability around those goals? I would love to see some samples of both goals and the accountability structure, especially around community engagement.