3 Strategies for Achieving Ministry Goals This Fall

As we prepare for the fall ministry season, I’m guessing you have some goals for your ministry and for your church.

In fact, this fall ministry season feels pivotal.  After two years of COVID-19, many of us are hoping to return to growth or return to a full ministry offering and schedule.  

We have goals we want and need to achieve this fall.  The funny thing about goals is that we are good at setting them but not always good at achieving them (Like New Years resolutions–Oof!) 

When it comes to actually achieving goals, three strategies have revolutionized my ability to reach goals in my own life and ministry.  I hope they are helpful for you and your church too. 


Eliminate Other Goals 

If you’re like me, you have a propensity to set too many goals.  

  1. Exercise 5x a week
  2. Read 52 books this year
  3. Take each of my 5 kids on a coffee date each week
  4. Write a book
  5. Write an encouraging note to a staff member every week
  6. Mentor a group of pastors
  7. Write a teaching series every month

Yes! So driven! Dream big! Be a visionary.  

I’ve learned something…mostly from not meeting goals I set.  If you want to actually achieve your goals, you need to eliminate other goals.   

Often, the greatest threat to my goals are other goals.  

You and I only have so much energy and time. We don’t need more goals. We need fewer goals. We need focus.  

If you are having trouble achieving goals in your personal life or in leadership, I would encourage you to prioritize your goals based on what is most important right now and then zero in on that one goal.

That is your priority. There really is no such thing as priorities. Multitasking doesn’t work for individuals or organizations.  

Once you have completed your core priority, move on to what is next on the priority list.  I think you’ll be surprised at how effective this simple strategy is.    


Create a Sustainable Rhythm

I have two speeds: max and zero. Do you know what I mean?  If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. This means that when I set a goal, my natural inclination is to start sprinting. Maybe you can relate.  

The trouble with this is that I run out of gas.  I’m a great starter and a subpar finisher.  Obviously, this is problematic for accomplishing goals.  

What I’ve had to learn is the art of sustainability. For me, a sustainable rhythm is more important than passion, motivation or just about anything else.   

Sustainable rhythms are important because you have other work to do besides achieving your goal.  If your goal is to increase attendance this fall in your weekend services, you still have to recruit volunteers for children’s ministry, attend board meetings, write sermons, and track budgets.  

Think of it this way. If you are trying to lose 10 pounds, a sustainable way to achieve this goal is to eat a little less and exercise a little more each day.  Apply that same strategy to whatever goal you are attempting to reach in ministry this fall.  

  • Aim to make 3 volunteer recruiting calls each day.  
  • Aim to spend 2 hours each morning writing your message.
  • Aim to devote 2 hours each week as a team strategizing for the fall.    

A sustainable, manageable pace empowers you to apply consistent time and attention without disrupting your current work.  

Often, sustainability means putting a ceiling on your efforts.  This ceiling preserves our energy and focus. Any goal that is truly worth running after cannot not be accomplished in a day.  

It doesn’t matter who you are – if you attempt to go full throttle after a goal indefinitely, you will run out of gas. Creating a sustainable rhythm will help you accomplish the goal because you’ll be able to maintain the energy and focus required.

If you’re having trouble achieving goals, I would suggest concentrating your energy through sustainable rhythms.  


Stop Measuring The Goal

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned about achieving goals has to do with measuring success in the right way. Often, when we measure the goal itself, we are measuring the wrong thing. 

For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, you can weigh yourself every morning but that isn’t necessarily going to change anything.  

That might sound like a silly example but we do this sort of thing all the time in church.  For example, we measure attendance every week, but is that really what we should be measuring?  

Let’s go back to the goal of losing 10 pounds. What really needs to be measured are the activities that contribute to weight loss.  What if you measured how many 30-minute exercise sessions you engaged in? 

Now you’re actually measuring the activity that influences the goal of weight loss. This is a much more effective evaluation tool. 

When it comes to church, what if we started evaluating ourselves on the activities that lead to greater attendance instead of the attendance number itself?  Maybe we’re measuring the wrong things. This strategy has led to dramatic improvement in our ministry.  

If you’re having trouble achieving the goals you set as a ministry leader, maybe it’s time to spend some time thinking about what factors and activities influence the goal you have set

Once you better understand the influences, you can begin measuring the right things. If you want to dig more into this concept of measuring the right thing, The 4 Disciplines of Execution revolutionized how I think about achieving goals.


Wrap Up

Our goals for the fall ministry season are critically important. May our God bless you and your church this fall. May you experience incredible spiritual movement in your congregation and community. My hope is that these three goal-achieving strategies help you along the way.