Creating Long-term Goals
The world I live in moves very quickly.
In large cities, where the pace is just shy of light speed, people expect quick results from youth ministry. They want to see growth in numbers and greater depth of faith. They want to see their teenagers change in front of their eyes. I’m not a fan of moving that quickly—especially when it comes to change. The only way I know how to combat that is to create long-term goals with short-term benchmarks. The key to helping make these successful is getting parents and clergy on board.
I start with my youth council.
If you don’t have one of these, I highly recommend you start one. A youth council is made up of parents and teenagers—make sure to have equal representation of both genders as well as both middle and high school students. The process is easy: Parents, teens, my staff, and I each come up with three goals we have for the youth ministry. We present all of these to the group, and we vote on them to choose the top three. For the next three years, that’s what we work on. As a council, we come up with measurable one-year benchmarks that will help everyone see the progress that’s being made toward the long-term goals.
Fill your pastor in on the details.
After we’ve chosen our goals for the next three years, we make the clergy aware of them (it’s important to always keep your pastor in the loop). I ask the clergy and the council to be our cheerleaders and mouthpieces—I ask them to let others know what’s happening and what our plans are.
Make your goals clear, attainable, and aim high.
Now, just because we’ve set long-term goals doesn’t mean people still won’t push on us to make things happen faster. But establishing those goals, knowing them through and through, and being clear on what the benchmarks look like allow me to communicate a plan of action toward a clear outcome. We value making our goals clear and attainable—but we also aim high. This has allowed us to help people slow down and see the big picture, and as we hit our benchmarks, it gives concrete evidence that things are moving in a good direction. We find that people value a strategic plan and a clear vision for the future of the ministry.
It’s not foolproof, and sometimes the goals tend to be a little off-center; however, once you have buy-in from people, you can tweak those goals and help others have a more mature and meaningful vision for youth ministry. At the Center for Youth Ministry Training, we were always told, “Evolution—not revolution.” The more people trust you, the easier and more manageable it will be to make meaningful and sustainable changes. It all starts with long-term goals, measurable one-year benchmarks, and buy-in from your people.
Andrew Mochrie lives with his wife EJ and two dogs Ginger & Olive in Fort Worth, TX where he loves doing youth ministry at FUMC Fort Worth. Andrew graduated from Georgia College & State University and Memphis Theological Seminary with a B.A. in Rhetoric and an M.A. in Youth Ministry through the Center for Youth Ministry Training. In his free time, Andrew loves rock climbing, surfing when he’s in the right place, hiking, biking, checking out live music, and constantly exploring outside! The only time he sits still is over a cup of coffee and a good book.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.