QUESTION: Every January, and sometimes in the fall, my pastor wants me to come up with ministry goals. I’m not a Type-A, visionary leader like my pastor, so I always struggle with this assignment. Is there a formula I can use or guidelines that could help me write good goals?
ANSWER: Setting goals may, at first, feel like an infringement upon your artistic sensibilities, but goals can actually serve you and your ministry well. As a leader, goals can help you prioritize, manage your time effectively, and stay focused on tasks you might not otherwise accomplish. So even if your pastor didn’t require it, you’d be wise to regularly establish goals. Like you, many of us struggle with writing our goals. But with some thought and a little direction, objectives can be easily formulated.
To begin, I suggest dividing your ministry into groups or ensembles—worship team, band, choir, singers, instrumentalists, production team, dancers, visual artists, drama group—however your ministry is organized. Ask yourself, “What is the next step artistically and/or spiritually for that particular team. In other words, what needs to improve, grow, increase, or be strengthened? For example, you may decide that your worship team needs to improve in vocal quality or musical memorization. You may decide that the rhythm section needs to play more cohesively or that you need more players.You may discern that your guitar players need to improve their sound or play less busily. It may be time for the choir to focus on spiritual is- sues or experience deeper community.
After thinking about what the next step is for your team’s development, you’re ready to articulate goals related to those needs. Always make sure your goals are clear and concise. For example, if you want your team to take the next step vocally, you could make it a goal to sponsor a vocal workshop, purchase instruction videos, find a voice teacher for your singers, or bring in an expert to work with them. Ideally, goals should be expressed in short sentences or phrases. For example:
- Introduce six new praise songs.
- Have the band practice at least two songs with a click track every weekend.
- Hire an administrative assistant.
When establishing goals, avoid vague statements. To say, “I want the choir to grow spiritually,” is a fine sentiment, but too general. Instead, be specific:
- Take the choir on a retreat before the com- ing Easter.
- Have them read a spiritual book about worship.
- Teach them to become private worshipers with weekly devotionals.
- Pray at the end of every rehearsal.
THE RIGHT MEASURE
Always make sure your goals are measurable. For example, if you want your group to rehearse more, specify how of- ten. To say, “I’d like to add more people to the band this year,” is not as helpful as saying, “We need to add a bass player, a drummer, and two male vocalists.” Goals that are clear-cut and quantifiable are easier to accomplish.
Also, make sure your goals are do-able. Don’t set the bar so low so as not to be challenging. However, don’t set the bar so high that you can’t achieve the goal with a reasonable amount of effort. Goals that are too lofty are quickly abandoned. Building a professional quality, 300-voice choir in three months from nothing is not a feasible target for any church. Remember, you’re the one who’s going to have to implement them, so create goals that are realistic.
AN EXAMINED LIFE
After you’ve established goals for your ministry, be sure to set some personal goals. Leaders who fail to create goals for them- selves eventually stop growing and improv- ing. So ask yourself, “What is the next step for me artistically and spiritually?” Then write out personal goals that are clear, measurable, and doable. For example:
- Practice my instrument for an hour every other morning.
- Write three new worship songs each quarter.
- Read five books on worship before the end of the year.
- Memorize one psalm a month. n Take a personal retreat.
Finally, don’t write goals and then for- get about them. Print them out and post them where you will see them daily: by your computer, desk, or work area. Better yet, pray over those goals regularly. Doing so will not only keep them on your radar, but also allow you to draw on the Lord’s strength to accomplish those goals.
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Rory Noland is the director of Heart of the Artist Ministries, an organization dedicated to serving artists in the church. He mentors worship leaders, speaks at churches, workshops, and conferences, leads retreats for artists, and consults with churches in the areas of worship and the arts. Rory is also a published songwriter and has authored four books, all published by Zondervan.