Thursday, September 27, 2012

Planning and Reaching Goals in Your Personal Life, Ministry, or Business

Planning and Reaching Goals
By Dr. Dave Johnson
Assemblies of God Missionary to the Philippines

David and Solomon’s Temple. Solomon succeeded because David planned and prepared

State Your Vision

Habbakuk 2:2 “Write the vision and make it plain.”

Dreams that are not written are easily forgotten. If you are pastoring, you and your leadership team should decide prayerfully decide what God’s vision is for you, and you should be able to write it in one sentence. A good example is the vision statement for one USA based Christian group known as the Navigators “to know Christ and to make him known.” Once you have determined what your mission is, you should set goals and the specific action steps that you need to take in order to accomplish these goals.

Once we have written our vision, then we can set goals and plan action steps to achieve our goals. In goal setting, we will use the acronym SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable (meaning that you will know when you have accomplished it), Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound (i.e. a deadline)(adapted from Dave Ramsey’s book EntreLeadership and probably others).

So that this lesson will be easy to understand, we will use Nehemiah’s reconstruction of the wall around Jerusalem at the end of the Babylonian captivity as an example of setting SMART goals.

What is your vision for your life, job, or ministry?

Nehemiah’s vision: 2:5 To restore the city of Jerusalem as the dwelling place for God’s name.

He knew this was the will of God because of Deuteronomy 30:2-3.

Make Your Plan

To accomplish his vision, he needed a plan. Note that he made many of his plans before going to the king.

Nehemiah’s first goal was to rebuild the wall around the city (2:13). Why was this his first goal?

Was it SMART?

Specific? Yes, he wanted to rebuild the wall.
Measurable? In other words, would Nehemiah know when he accomplished the goal? Yes,--it would be obvious to all when the wall had been rebuilt.
Achievable? Yes, with adequate provisions, skill, and labor, they could do the work
Relevant? –Yes, a city built as a dwelling place for God needed a wall to protect it from Israel’s enemies that surrounded the city.
Time bound? Yes, in 2:6, he gave the king a deadline for completing all of his work, which included the wall. Careful planning in advance was necessary to ensure that the work was done in a timely manner.

What were his Action Steps?
  • He got permission to travel (2:5-6).
  • He requested official documents to get construction materials (2:7).
  • He examined the wall to see what needed to be done—Knowing what must be done is critical to actually making a plan.
  • He cast the vision and mobilized the citizens of the city to help (2:17).
  • He organized the workers to simultaneously repair various sections of the wall (chapter 3).
  • He made a plan and took appropriate action for dealing with their enemies (4:9-23).
  • He kept the workers focused on the job despite the threat of opposition (4:9-23).
  • He dealt with problems among his people in a godly, forthright manner (chapter 5) and still kept them focused on finishing the wall.
  • He succeeded because he had planned—in accordance with his God given vision (6:15)!

His Second Goal Was to Restore the Government Structure and Religious Worship

Was it SMART?

Specific To us it is not immediately specific, but to Nehemiah and the Jews it was clear that they wanted to rebuild Jerusalem as it had been in the past.
Measurable—Nehemiah knew that he needed to organize the people, both socially and spiritually, to live according to the written word of God.
Achievable—yes, if their hearts were wholly dedicated to God
Relevant—Living for the glory of God’s name is relevant in any generation
Time bound—While the principles of living by God’s word are timeless, Nehemiah had promised the king that all would be set in order by a specific time.

What were his Action Steps?
  • He appointed appropriate leaders (7:2)
  • He took a census (7:5-73)
  • He dealt with their spiritual lives (8:1-12)
  • He restored public worship (8:13-18)
  • He led them in a time of national repentance and restoration (chapter 9)
  • He recognized the social ordering of their society (10:1-27)
  • He established civil regulations according to the word of God (10:28-12:26)
  • They concluded everything with a fiesta for the glory of God (12:27-47)!!

All of his action steps were accomplished through prayer, research, and careful planning.

Exercise One

1. Write what your vision is regarding your church or ministry assignment  Make sure that it is clearly written and can be said in only one sentence.


2. Have each student write at least two goals for accomplishing that vision, making sure that all goals are SMART. Any goals that cannot be done through the SMART pattern should be revised or changed.


3. Have each student write down the action steps necessary to achieve their goals.

Exercise Two Have each leader follow the same process in setting personal goals. Be sure that they do not write goals about things they do not wish to share with the group. Use the back side of this page for this.

*All Scripture references are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

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Copyright 2012 Dr. Dave Johnson 

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