Are you among the millions who make and inevitably abandon their New Year’s resolutions?

While we all wish we could do a better job keeping our personal resolutions, dynamic church leaders know they can’t afford to simply make a wishlist (what many resolutions amount to) and hope for the best.

That’s why this shiny new season often includes a more formal process, otherwise known as goal-setting.

Breaking Goals Down into Actionable Steps
You probably already know that resolutions and goals alike require specificity if they’re to be met. You can say you’re going to lose 20 pounds, but the day-to-day resolutions have to include how you’re going to do that. Projects (anything complex enough that you can’t just “do” it) must be broken down into steps you can do.

5 Important Church Goals
Church goals work the same way, and they can vary drastically. Maybe you’re planning to launch a new campus, hire for new roles, appoint new elders, pay off debt, purchase new software or take on a major facilities renovation in 2016.

Whether implied or spoken, most churches also have a goal to grow (numerically and spiritually) and to get more people engaged in activities and giving. After all, these outcomes are necessary if we are to accomplish or support the big initiatives we’re imagining and planning.

How will you achieve those goals?

There are any number of exciting initiatives that can stimulate growth, but if you keep breaking your goals down into actionable steps, you’ll see that for a church to grow and increase member engagement (prerequisites for accomplishing and supporting our other goals, remember?), the foundational level of action steps will always include these five elements that every church should have among their 2016 New Year’s Resolutions:

1. Uncommon efficiency

Who doesn’t need to do away with wasted effort? No matter how methodical someone is, all systems degrade over time when we get busy, when priorities and processes shift, and when staff changes are made. Periodically evaluating and streamlining administrative tasks can help you eliminate inefficiencies and errors, save time and money and, ultimately, reduce frustration.

2. Stellar staff accountability, collaboration and morale

Managing a staff that ministers within a constant stream of incoming needs requires intuitive workflows for member care and visitor assimilation to ensure that no one falls through the cracks. Individuals tend to move toward managing their span of care their way, which creates silos that, in turn, create the very inefficiencies you’re trying to eliminate.

Centralized data and resources, along with clear, stated and enforced standards, are vital to creating a cohesive and effective staff culture.

3. Processes that yield the desired results 

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” may not be your best criteria for evaluating processes to see where they can be improved. Member surveys and staff feedback can enhance these and other areas. The right tools make all the difference here:

  • Volunteers giftedness matching and assignments
  • Spiritual growth tracks management
  • Leadership tracks
  • Children’s Ministry management
  • Small Group management

4. Better than 20/20 visibility of ministry effectiveness

There’s a limit to how much you can track with just your eyes. And even what you can see can fool you. Knowing how things are really going and where new initiatives are needed is dependent on better data management. You need accuracy and efficiency in order to take care of your people. That’s a Level 1 expectation. Level 2 is advanced data analytics for guess-free decision-making and predictive, visionary leadership.

5. Vibrant giving and engagement 

The goal of increasing giving and engagement is multi-faceted. As a leader, you know these practices are necessary for both the spiritual health of your members and visitors and the health and financial footing of your congregation. A more engaged congregation will assist in your outreach efforts, too. Providing online tools that make participation frictionless is a great starting point.


These 5 goals are so important because they influence the viability of all other functions. Not convinced? Put your most inspiring 2016 goal to the test:

  • Thinking of one big goal, scan back through these five resolutions.
  • How many of them will affect the development, completion and ongoing success of that goal?

Learn more about the church management software that can help you meet all five resolutions.