The start of the new year is a great time to set goals and resolutions for the months ahead, but where and how do you start? Setting goals can seem overwhelming, so here’s my process for setting – and achieving – my ministry goals.

You can also download my interactive Goal Setting Guide to walk you through this process.

1) Start with prayer. This really should be a given in our line of work.

2) Keep the vision in mind. I use my ministry vision statement like a colander or pasta strainer and run all new ideas, events, and activities through that filter. 100% of the ideas and suggestions I get may be good ideas, but if they don’t fit within the overall vision of my ministry, then they aren’t worth putting my time, energy, and effort into them. So let your mission statement be a filter, pour all your ideas through it, and see what sticks.

3) Evaluate. What went well last year? What was lacking? Where is an area I want to see growth in the ministry and in the children? How well did I equip my volunteers to serve? What questions did I answer that may reveal a topic I need to address this year? To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. Talk with your team, parents, and senior pastor about these questions, and evaluate a starting point.

4) Write your goals down. This is one of the most important steps! Write down your goals on sticky notes, in a journal, or in an email. You can even use the printable cards in the DKM Goal Setting Guide to help you. Make your goals specific and time-sensitive, so give yourself a deadline. This helps with accountability and follow-through. Also, use positive language. When you phrase your goals negatively, you subconsciously imply that you’re doing something wrong. So instead of saying, “Stop procrastinating,” change the wording to “Stay ahead of my schedule.” Putting a positive spin on the language of your goals helps you feel excited about tackling them.

5) Share your goals with others. Now that you’ve written them down, talk them up! This helps with accountability and ensures that you don’t do ministry alone. Will it be a co-worker, your senior pastor, a friend, or even a fellow KidMin leader through Facebook?

6) Keep your goals visible. Put your goals where you can see them. I’m a big fan of sticky notes – even some of the notes from when I first started in children’s ministry are still up – and that was 5 years ago! So whether it’s a physical place in your office or a digital space on your computer, keep your goals in a place where you’ll see them often.

7) Celebrate success! As you reach your milestones along the way to your goals or even complete the original goal, make sure to take the time to celebrate! Do your happy dance, share the good news, and celebrate the wins. This will give you the motivation to keep moving when things get tough and allow you to invite people into the great things God is doing in your ministry. Even if the accomplishment seems small, take the time to celebrate it!

The children and families we serve are too important not to take the time to intentionally look to their futures, so grab your pen, some sticky notes, our Goal-Setting Guide, and think big, start small, keep moving with your goals for this year.

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