“We just do what the Lord tells us!” 

 So said one pastor as he trashed the idea of setting numerical or principled goals. Okay. But if you do not know how much you weigh, how do you know if you are eating the right things? 

If you do not know where you’re driving to, how do you know when you get there? 

Our instructions are from the Lord and the Bible He inspired, so they tell us what He desires. But there are ways to get there—to be “going into all the world,” for instance—that involve goals and values that are measurable, and help you know if you are getting there. Even having policies that flow out of your values can avoid unnecessary discussion and controversy about what is allowed on staff or by leaders. 

So why not watch and listen to our video and read our notes and see what you think and then decide? That could be the first of your goals! 

Valuing your friendship, 

Knute, with Jeff and Jim 

Download PDF

Watch Video

Are they necessary? Who cares about them? 

Jeff Bogue 

  • They are absolutely necessary. The values and goals of the church should be the driving force of the organizational life of the church. These goals should be measurable. They should be tangible, not just ethereal in nature like, “Love God and love people,” and they should be the driving force behind all the decisions the church makes. 
  • Hopefully, everyone in the church cares about them, and certainly the leadership, and absolutely the senior leader, should care a lot about them and have a passion for these goals. They should derive from the senior leader’s heart and mind, and become the instinct for leadership decisions in forward movement of the church family. 

Jim Brown 

  • Yes, they are absolutely necessary—without them, you have no definite direction or metric to evaluate the ministry of your church. 
  • Each year we put them out for people to see and pray over and even hand them a copy. We then ask them to personally adopt a couple and pray for a way to make those goals happen. 
  • The senior pastor must lead the way by sharing them and keeping them in front of his people. 
  • People will soon decide if the vision meets their heartfelt desires for a local church. 
  • If there is no vision or goals, the ministry will die! 

Knute Larson 

  • Necessary to be at church? No. To get the interest and prayers of many of the members and friends? No. To have some specific goals and targets and a roadmap for what you emphasize? Yes, indeed. 

Who was it that said that if you don’t have a target you will think you are hitting it all the time? Or something like that. ☺ Probably Yogi Berra, who never pastored, that I know of. 

  • Leaders, starting with a pastor and staff, should certainly embrace the clear goals and motives of our Lord’s Great Command and also His Great Commission. Then specific targets and even numbers to measure progress can be a great help. 

Who cares? Those leaders who should not feel bad if a lot of people just yawn at goals. “I just like to hear a good sermon,” some might say. “And the music that I like.” But maybe if that person knew that one of the church’s goals was to get new and committed guests to the church, he or she might pray and flex a little to help to meet that goal. 

Or if they really understood that one of the main values of the church was love that shows in evangelism, they might realize that the church is not just about them and their tastes. 

  • I do not think any pastor should try to talk every member into caring about the values and goals of the church. There will always be spectators who will yawn at whatever leadership puts down on paper for values and goals. Even some leaders will be in it just to have their own way. Those are cold facts. We pray and try to love and lead people into more caring and involvement, but then grow with those who will. And, whether grace is a stated value or not, it certainly guides us always, so we are patient and loving with those who are reticent. 

If you do have them, how should they be formed and decided? 

Jeff Bogue 

  • They should really come out of the heart and mind of the senior leader. Take a hard look at what you’re doing instinctively, and if you have clear instincts you’ve been acting on over time, then you probably have your goal. Maybe you just have not written them down yet, or made them transferable. 
  • Ultimately, they should be decided upon by the leadership team and embraced by the whole congregation. 

Jim Brown 

  • Goals are birthed from prayer. 
  • They must come from the heart of God and reflect the best way your church can represent and meet the needs of your community and move your people in the discipleship process to become more like Jesus. 
  • They come from the leadership team and the heart of your senior pastor who is in touch with the pulse of his church. 
  • They must be clear and measurable and tangible. 
  • They must be big enough that the only way they are fully accomplished is by God’s intervening. 

Knute Larson 

  • Not by congregational vote. Though if you would want that, experience proves that such a discussion by a lot of people who think about this out loud at a congregational meeting might not turn out to be the church’s finest hour! And no doubt some of them might be thinking about it for the first time. Leaders must lead. 
  • This is what leaders are for. If the pastor and whoever shares in the oversight of the church do not write down as they pray and “eat and sleep” church, values and goals probably will not happen. Usually, goals and values come from the pastor’s heart, refined and made embraceable by his family, staff, and board, and then made a part of the prayers and program of the church. 

Are annual or quarterly goals good to have? Why or why not? 

Jeff Bogue 

  • They are absolutely good to have. Anything that keeps you focused and dialed in will move the organization forward in a healthy way and will help keep you organized as well as providing forward momentum. 
  • Yearly goals are really helpful too. Whether it’s yearly goals for the staff or a yearly theme that the church functions under, you’re never going to go wrong setting good and tangible goals. 

Jim Brown 

  • Yes, they keep people on mission, and the mission hot! 
  • People can find ways to plug in and use their gifts for the Lord in the local church if they embrace the values and goals. 
  • Values and goals are great. They steer the direction of the church. 
  • Even on a personal level, we should have personal goals to keep us on track with Jesus! 

Knute Larson 

  • Everyone who thinks about goals or writes about them knows that the calendar must be involved. When do you hope to reach the target? How do you measure success without referring to time also? 

And anyone who does not want to grow, ought to get to know Jesus and His Word better. Surely a bit of measurement is needed, as long as it is attainable and worth the hard work and effort and love. So we must be able to tie goals with some specific steps and dates. And values with clear teachings of our Lord. 

Most of us have health goals and family values, and some of them set to the calendar. Why not also have strong and important goals for the family of believers? 

  • Most churches need to celebrate more than they do, and that is also a reason for quarterly and annual goals. Leaders and the whole church can celebrate with thanksgiving when the goals are reached. 
  • I always coach churches to be basic with values and goals, and relate them to the five directions every church goes: 

Grace – to learn even better where new life starts, and how it works for assurance, strength, growth, and motivation in our hearts. 

Worship – to grow and do better with personal, family, and corporate honor and looking up. 

Community – to have a spirit of love and acceptance in this place, and to sponsor easily joinable groups that love people, new ones also. 

Mission – do you know where you are headed as a church, and what difference you are making locally and globally? This includes missions, but especially the stance the church wants to take on love and politics and separatism and more. 

Integrity – to have values and guardrails for staff and leaders at least, so they stay off the front page of the newspaper for the wrong reasons. 

Pastorpedia is a resource provided to you by Momentum Ministry Partners. Please contact us at info@buildmomentum.org or 574.267.6622 if we may be of any help to you or your ministry! 

Jeff Bogue, Lead Pastor of Grace Church, and also, President of Momentum Ministry Partners; Jim Brown, Lead Pastor of Grace Community Church in Goshen, Indiana; and Knute Larson, a coach of pastors, who previously led The Chapel in Akron for 26 years. Pastorpedia is brought to you by Momentum Ministry Partners. Visit our website for more resources and to learn more about how we aim to partner with the local church.