Setting goals for your team.


One of the best things you can do with your kids is teach them how to work. The kicker is that teaching your kids how to work is far more work than actually doing the work yourself. You have to slow down involve them in the process and explain why the work you are doing matters. If your kids don’t understand why work matters to you and why it matters to God they will see work as meaningless and will try to do work by themselves so they can get it done and move on. It’s important that kids learn from the process of work as much as accomplish the task before them. Helping your team set goals is much like this.

Setting goals for other people is a tricky business. As someone who leads others it is very easy to set goals for the team to hit and whip them into compliance constantly reminding them about what goals I have set for them. Can you accomplish things by setting goals for others? Yes and no. Yes people will do some things out of fear or because of relationship. If you do not involve your team in the creation of the goals you are trying to accomplish what you create is a unhealthy focus on results without regard for the process. They and you will see the trees but miss the forest. It’s much like teaching your kids how to work. Kids can understand that work gives me money without understanding that work glorifies God. As leaders we must be careful that we don’t get the results we want at a cost to our team and organization that will ultimately not bring glory to God.

Goals are achieved through a series of practical steps. Your team needs to buy into the goal but not necessarily the steps. If your teams buys into the goal they will trust you with the steps. There are actually three types of leadership The command and control leader who says these are our goals do them, the consensus leader who says what goals should we have, and the collaborative leader who says what goals should we have here is what I think we need to do together and this is what you need to do.

I favor collaboration because that’s how I believe you have to lead when leading volunteers for the long haul. Do you have to be command and control sometimes? Yes. Consensus sometimes? Yes. I believe both command and control and consensus leadership should be the exception to the rule especially when it comes to setting goals.

Practical Suggestions:

1. Goals should be agreed on how they are carried out should be dictated. Creativity and collaboration needs guidelines and riverbanks.
2. Personal goals are as important as team goals. – Personal goals help you see your fellow team member as humans and not goal production machines. Knowing the personal goals of your team reveals a side of them you don’t see when you are so focused on your ministry silo.
3. Goals help us focus as individuals and as teams. – You see through the unimportant to the most important. We all crave security. Security is achieved through clarity, clarity is achieved through specificity.

What goals and dog food have in common.


I remember once doing an object lesson where I took a can of beef stew and removed the label and then cut a dog food label off of a dog food can and taped it to the can of beef stew. I opened the can of beef stew and started eating it. All the kids thought it was dog food. Kids were grossed out and my illustration was more powerful than the point that accompanied it. The kids had no idea what I was talking about. The girls were grossed out and all the boys when home and tried to eat dog food. Don’t try this illustration I beg of you I had a few gagers and at least one sympathy puker.

We do the same thing with goals. We take something we hate and know we need to do and put a different wrapper on it hoping that will make a difference and mostly we get frustrated and confused. Don’t make your goal this big awesome amazing goal and then fail to put steps in place to make it happen. If you don’t set goals correctly they can often do more damage than good, sort of like beef stew illustrations for small children.

Here is what I think every goal should be. 

1. Measurable – You need a trigger to tell you on a daily/weekly basis that you are doing good or need to work harder. One of my goals this year is to read 52 books. (In addition to reading my bible daily, that side note is for Jonathan Cliff) I know I need a book a week if I fall back I know what I have to do to push on.
2.  Clear – Attaching a number helps but isn’t necessary. Saying I want to read more never works. How much do you want to read by when.
3. Realistic – Saying I want to read 365 books in a year sounds awesome right? The problem is I will never do it, that is if I want to stay married, and keep my job. A goal is only is powerful as it is achievable.
4. Difficult – No one gets anything out of setting a goal they can reach without any effort. Getting to the playoffs isn’t the goal of the New York Yankees they do it almost every year it’s winning the World Series that gets them going. If your goal is not a challenge it isn’t worth celebrating.
5. Celebrated – This is the one thing we so often forget. We achieve a goal and then move on to the next one so often we don’t take time to reflect on the journey and celebrate the victory. Such a huge step. Last year I read 44 books I missed my goal but read way more than I did the year before. I took time to celebrate that and then I started working on next year how can I reach my goal. What do I need to learn? How can I do better next year?


The difference between a goal and a new years resolution.

new years resolution vs. goal

Research shows that 80% of people who make a new years resolution will break them. 60% or more don’t even make them because they know they are going to break them. People don’t make resolutions because they feel awful when they break them. People don’t want to feel bad so they avoid the things that make them feel bad. The problem is that if we shoot at nothing we are going to hit it every time. To many people drift in frustration and borderline burnout because they have nothing to tell them that they are making a difference. They have nothing forcing them to get out of bed in the morning. We need a goal. We need something more than a random thought at 12:01 January 1st.

There is a huge difference between a goal and a resolution – A goal is something you keep in front of you every day. A resolution is something you wish could happen to you. The biggest difference between a goal and a resolution is active behavior versus passive behavior.

In our personal lives and in our professional lives we live for the weekend and for vacation because we don’t have personal and professional goals that drive us to produce and that provide us the opportunity to celebrate throughout the year.

In the next few posts I want to talk about goals and what part they play in our personal life and as a team. How do we set them? Why do we set them? What do goals tell us about ourselves and others.

Anatomy of a team.

My last post about the Mav’s got me thinking about the elements of a great team. What are the things that I believe make a great team not just a collection of talented people. You can have the best people at every position but if you don’t have a team you will never see your goals realized. Do you need talented people? Absolutely.

1. Common Goal – If everyone on the team doesn’t share the same goal and know where you are going you will never win.

2. Chemistry – I remember the 1996 Yankees they were amazing what was so amazing is there wasn’t a superstar among them. Scott Brosius played 3rd. Everyone who knows anything about baseball would tell you A-rod is a better player but as a fan I miss Brosius. What the 1996 Yankees had was chemistry.

3. Organizational clarity – When everyone on the team knows where they are going the part they play.

4. Mutual trust/dependance – If all the members of the team don’t feel that they need each other and can trust each other your team will never grow beyond the level of your collective insecurities.

5. Mutual submission – As a leader or member of a team you need to submit to each other you need to humble yourself and listen to each other and even go a step further and roll up your sleeves and help another team member even though you don’t have to because we as church leaders need to lead like Christ.

6. Need to know who the leader is – A team never replaces a dynamic leader. I in no way want to imply that a team replaces a leader. God gives leadership and those entrusted with it must lead, not apologizing but always mindful that they are leading because God has allowed them the opportunity.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Why numbers matter in Kidmin.

Tony Kummer put this on his facebook and it got me thinking.

What kind of attendance numbers do you track in your #kidmin? Just say this post from Henrietta Mears that got me thinking. She said, “Don’t be afraid to count numbers. Numbers stand for people for whom Christ died. Count them!”

I have a love hate relationship with numbers – (Yes I was horrible at math growing up but that’s not what I am talking about) I believe that in order for things to grow you have to evaluate them. You can only evaluate what you mesure so weather you admit it or not you have a system of measurement.

There are the extremes out there. Those people whose worth is connected to the size of their ministry so they count everyone twice. Then there are those out there who react to that guy and don’t count anything and say numbers don’t matter.

They are actually both right and both wrong,for me it’s all about motivation with numbers – We need to know because each kid matters to God, not because my worth is tied numbers. The interesting thing for me is that in the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15 the shepherd left the 99 and went out after the one. How would the shepherd know 1 was missing if he never knew he had 100 sheep?

The amount of kids that come is not everything but it is something. I think the bigger problem in the church at large and definitely in children’s ministry is we are not good at is creating measurable goals for our leaders. As a result of that we default to the easiest measurable goal out there, who came. I think obsessiveness over numbers is a sign of week leadership. If we create a culture that is gospel focused people will come and people will grow.

The problem I have is what should I be measuring? Because what we mesure is what we get. How do I give ownership to my team by giving them specific mesurable goals to help them know that what they are doing is significant?

What do you mesure and why?