Learn from the Past Lead into the Future

Celebrating Wins and Making Goals

by Jessica Downs/ November 29, 2016

As leaders in children’s ministry, we know the significance of our job. We have the opportunity to teach kids about Christ. What could be better than that? Yet in the middle of the week-to-week preparations, we can get so focused on the details that we forget the bigger picture. Our job is not simply to ensure our 4s class has a teacher this Sunday—our job is to nurture the spiritual development of kids.

So how do we refocus—especially as we come to the end of the year?

Each of us likely has the vision and mission of our ministry written out. If you don’t, take some time and develop those. Defining them will help you and your team know where you’re headed. As Jim Wideman says, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

Once your vision and mission are established, determining goals for moving forward is much easier. Goals are simply the vehicle to achieve the WHATs behind the WHY. What are your goals? Have you been successful at checking them off? Let’s take a look at how to evaluate and celebrate the wins from this past year as we determine the goals for next year and the years to come.


Evaluation is the key to success in any organization. Taking a long, hard look at what needs improvement isn’t always fun to do, but it is a vital piece of health. Has your ministry been effective? As you look over this past year, here are some specific questions to ask:

  • Vision/Mission: Have your vision and mission been accomplished? Have you communicated them to your lead pastor, volunteers, and parents?
  • Parental Involvement: How have you equipped the parents of your church to be the spiritual leaders of their kids?
  • Events: Have they served the purpose you created them to serve? Are there any that need reworking or even removal?
  • Curriculum: Does the curriculum you use teach the gospel message? Do your teachers feel set up to succeed with it?
  • Spiritual Milestones: Have you seen salvations in your services? How many kids have been baptized in water? How about baptized in the Holy Spirit?
  • Guests: How many guests have come through your doors? How many have stayed? Is there anything else you could do to keep them?
  • Creativity: Is your ministry a fun place for kids to be? Do you need to change how you do services in order to keep things fresh?
  • Volunteers: Has your team grown this year? Have they felt encouraged and appreciated?


On the flip side, it is equally important to celebrate the wins in our ministries. Why? Because celebrating:

  • Reminds people where we’ve been and what God has done
  • Unifies the team under the vision of why we do what we do
  • Builds momentum that people will want to keep up
  • Encourages your team and lets them know that are making a difference
  • Produces a desire to look for the positive instead of the negative

We know ministry is hard. Satan would love nothing more than to take away from the joy and significance of our mission. Don’t let him! Speak life over your team, and constantly remind them of their impact. No one wants to work in an environment where nothing is ever good enough. Choose to rejoice in the little as well as the big  thingsyour team and your ministry will be healthier because of it.


Once you’ve taken a look at what you’ve done up to this point, it’s time to contemplate the future. We’ve all heard the concept of setting goals, right? They’re supposed to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound. But I’d like to share with you one simple concept that has changed how I set goals.

I’m a list person, and I’m also a perfectionist, so I often find myself with a paper full of well-meaning and ambitious goals. More often than not, though, those goals don’t get accomplished because I’m trying to focus on multiple things at the same time.

In The 4 Disciplines of Execution, Chris McChesney and Sean Covey share the concept of focusing on the “Wildly Important Goals” (WIGs). It states, “The first discipline is to focus your finest effort on the one or two goals that will make all the difference, instead of giving mediocre effort to dozens of goals” (pg. 25).

The fact of the matter is, the more goals you have, the lower the probability of accomplishing them. The authors argue that when you have two to three goals, you are likely to achieve them. If you have four to 10 goals, the likelihood goes down to one to two goals. And by setting more than 11, you probably won’t achieve any of the goals you’ve set out to fulfill.

So what are the WIGs in your ministry? What are the total game changers? Focus on those, and you’ll have a much better chance of accomplishing them.


As leaders, we straddle the line of where we are and where we’re heading. It is our job and our privilege to encourage and challenge those we lead. So take some time this December to evaluate, celebrate, and formulate. Let God expand your vision as you look ahead, but don’t forget to stand up and applaud all that He’s done through your team in 2016.