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There is a whole field of study on setting and keeping goals. Almost all successful businesses and organizations have some sort of formal process for setting and evaluating goals. And for a very important reason - goals give the group a target to work toward and a purpose for their efforts.

The following is from a goals development group:

  • “People and organizations who set goals do better than those who do not,

  • “People who set specific goals do better than those who set vague goals,

  • “Difficult goals, if accepted, result in better performance,

  • “Success in goal attainment is directly related to deliberate and conscious goal-setting.”

One fairly common acronym used in goal setting literature is that goals must be “SMART.” Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Relevant. Trackable.

Let’s say a man decides he wants to be a better father. Nice sentiment, but not a well framed goal. Better is for him to decide to attend every worship service with his children and spend at least 30 minutes personally with them each day.

Someone wants to lose weight. That’s just a wish. They determine to lose 20 pounds over the next 10 days. Unrealistic (or at least unhealthy). Better if they determine to follow a specific calorie intake, walk 30 minutes each day, and cut out sugar based desserts.

What about churches? Keep the yard mowed and have services three times a week meets the SMART criteria but are not worthy of a church’s group goals.

Jesus challenged the church to a global vision - preach the gospel to the whole world. He challenged us to a local standard - be the city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. The best performance of groups is when they embrace specific, difficult goals that require substantial effort by the group. Research shows that if the goals are too easy, nonspecific, or nonexistent, most groups cease to achieve.

What’s our goal?

- Tim Orbison


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