4 Keys to Turning Goals into Plans

Guides for a Successful Ministry

by Mark Entzminger/ December 2, 2016

With the start of the New Year, people will be making resolutions of what they intend to change in their lives over the coming year. This is a natural time to also evaluate your family life and children’s ministry.


What makes the difference in those who create goals and those who achieve them? Most often the missing component is a realistic and executable plan. Let’s take a look at some of the most common elements that a plan needs in order to help guide you to success.


1. Is it written down?


A friend of mine says, “If it’s not on paper, it doesn’t exist.” I would have to agree. If your plan is simply in your head, the chances of it succeeding are reduced significantly.


A written plan, much like a blueprint for a house, provides the needed information for every contributor to see what the end result should look like. They can see how, where, and when they can contribute and know they are part of something that is much bigger than one’s self.

But a written plan also does something much more than provide continuity. It provides accountability to you and to those who are working with you.


By taking time at regular intervals to review the original document that was agreed upon, you can see how and where specific decisions may have changed the original intent or why the end result wasn’t what you thought it was going to be.


2. Is there a sequence (or process)?


Effective plans build on a sequence. Not everything can happen at once. Some more complicated projects will require the timing of multiple elements to be completed at just the right time.


By identifying the key components that need to be completed first, second, and so on, you help pace yourself and your team to deliver an end result that is much less chaotic.


Don’t think that by listing the sequence you’ll avoid all of the last-minute scramble. I’ve never been part of a project where at least one thing didn’t need extra attention as it was winding down. But when a sequence is created, it makes the full project seem much more manageable, and the end result is going to be much closer to the original goal than if you had missed this important step.


3. What can be delegated?


When you have a written plan that has a sequence of events, it becomes much easier to recruit and empower leaders and team members to accomplish specific tasks.


This is because these individuals can more easily gauge their full investment and will be able to view themselves being successful because they know what is expected of them.


The danger in the delegation process is to miss the casting of vision. Never fall into the trap of asking people to fill a role without spending the appropriate time casting the vision to which they will contribute.


For instance, you are not asking a leader to build a slime machine; you are asking them to help you create a memorable experience for kids during a summer outreach by building a slime machine. See the difference?


Here are a few other tips on building the team:

  • Look for the 10s. Create the list with the strongest talent you can find.
  • Don’t say “No” for anyone. Honor each person by asking them to be on the team.
  • Enlist others to help recruit. Go to a variety of people to have them help build the list of people you will invite to be a part of the team.
  • Look outside your existing team. Sometimes people will become a long-term volunteer after contributing to a well-planned focused goal. Share the win with them, and then invite them to win on a weekly basis.

4. Don’t forget to celebrate.


Everyone loves to celebrate the win. I’m sure there will be areas you and others will see that need to be improved, and there will be time for a review. But never forget to share in the win of what God did through a small group of committed and hard-working people.


We used to call these moments “Yay, God” moments. On our youth missions trips, we would circle up at the end of each day to provide time for each person to share how they saw God move. It was always amazing to see how, even in the most difficult of circumstances, kids could see the goodness of God.


How will you celebrate at the conclusion of your summer outreach? How will you allow camp leaders the time to reflect on what He did through them? In what ways do you share your own version of “Yay, God” moments with your Sunday morning or midweek teams?


Celebration is often the key that helps each leader feel valued and ready to contribute again.

So this year, dream big! But once you have a dream in your heart, make sure you spend time writing down a plan, creating the sequence of events, building the team you can empower, and making celebration something you don’t overlook.