"If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise"
(Gal. 3:29, NIV
Every January in our annual staff retreat, I pass around a sheet of paper that contains several questions. Each of these questions represents goals, and goals are vital as we plan with an end in mind. With an end in mind, we strive toward the promise. Without a goal in mind, we won't achieve much.
This series of questions can be used in any youth ministry as a goal-setting exercise, and it is always fun to revisit a goal-sheet in December and see how well you've done. Consider these questions today in your own life and ministry. How would you answer them? What goals would you set for yourself?
• What is one personal goal you hope to achieve this year?
• What are two goals you will strive for in ministry this year?
• Who are three people whom you could mentor this year?
Youth ministry is difficult, but it is made more difficult without goals. When we plan our ministry with an end in mind, we create a sense of movement and progress. Even large, overwhelming goals can be broken down into smaller steps. Progress can be made monthly.
At the cusp of a new year, it is also important for us to create personal goals, as well as professional ones. We need to remember our goals centered around self-care and renewal (body, mind and spirit) are equally as important as the goals we set for ministry. Without self-care and health, we can't work at our optimum level for God and others.
Goals are also important because they shape our focus and awareness in ministry. We easily can forget why we are in ministry, or why we are working with teenagers. Having written goals helps us stay on track and eases our anxiety about direction and success. We cannot do everything, but by focusing on our own strengths and the goals we have set for ourselves and our ministries, life more easily falls into place.
Don't neglect to set your goals this year. Plan with the end in mind, and then write a date in your December calendar now! That's the date you'll be looking back on your goals and making assessment of your progress. You'll have reached the end; but your goals, hopefully, will be rich and full of achievement.