New year, new you. “I am going to be better this year because I will ______.” Everyone has resolutions, and to be honest most of us have already given a message to our students about how to make New Year’s resolutions for The Lord and make this year the best one yet. I know I have! But what about your ministry? What if this year could be the year you break out and are better than ever before? What if you could accomplish more and take your ministry to the next level?
That would be awesome, which is why it doesn’t start with a resolution. Most of the time resolutions don’t work, witness empty gyms by February 15th because everyone has given up on their resolutions. Resolutions are too big, too far off, and don’t carry enough meaning. But to not recognize that the new year is a great, fresh starting point would be foolish. So what do we need to do if we want to accomplish more in 2018?
Have you ever made the same resolution multiple years in a row because you didn’t achieve it? I admit, I have. That is because simply saying “I want to be better” doesn’t mean anything. Too often that is what we do with our ministries. We just throw out a big statement like, “we want to improve, we want to reach more, we want to be a better ministry” and we end up staying exactly the same because we didn’t actually list any goals to strive for. We need to set goals and make sure they are the right type of goals. So, what do the right type of goals look like?
~Stretching but Achievable
Be specific about what it is that you would like to accomplish and make sure you are setting your goals high enough to be stretched. But also make sure the goals that you set are achievable. In other words, don’t set the bar too low and not get any better, and don’t set the bar too high so you give up and stay the same. Get someone to help brainstorm what a stretching yet achievable goal may be for your ministry.
~Exciting but Measurable
Yes, have your goal be fun, big and exciting. But also make sure it is something that can be concretely checked and measured. If it is too abstract you will be unable to check your progress and how will you know if you are achieving your goals? You may have to stair-step your goals instead of making year-long goals. Make multiple 3-month goals so you are achieving them every few months as a stair-step to your larger year-long goal.
Do What It Takes
Okay, here is the tough part, actually doing what we set out to do. We have all set goals before at one time or another and yes, getting specific about what you want to accomplish is great. But without actually doing what it takes it doesn’t matter how great the goals are. Once your goals are made here is what needs to happen…
~Make a Plan
You have the what, now it is time for the how. The details of how we will actually accomplish a goal can be the most important part. Look at all aspects of the ministry and figure out what needs to change and which areas need to improve in order to accomplish these goals. If you want to see more students attending maybe that means planning more outreach events, doing series on outreach, or changing the culture of your ministry.
~Be Kept Accountable
Bring someone else in on your goals and be kept accountable for what you have set out to accomplish. Simple, yet extremely effective.
~Stick To It
Don’t give up. That is what happens to almost every single person who sets out to be better in the new year. At some point during the year, they simply give up. Stick to what you set out to do or you will not be able to accomplish more this year. Duh, right? But too often we simply don’t stick to it and then wonder why nothing changed.
This year can be your best yet, it can be the one where you break out and break through, but without setting goals and doing what it takes to accomplish them things will look the same. Thank you so much for being a youth worker and dedicating your time, energy, and effort to pouring into students!
TODD JONES has been in youth ministry for 10 years and has a passion for reaching lost students and training youth workers to do the same. He is the founder of STOKEDONYOUTHMINISTRY.COM, a speaker, author, and pastor. When Todd is not writing or speaking he enjoys surfing, baseball, and most importantly hanging out with his awesome wife and three beautiful daughters. You can connect with Todd at STOKEDONYOUTHMINSITRY.COM, THETODDJONES.COM, or on Twitter @THETODD_JONES, or Instagram @TODD_JONES.