“Stephanie, I think your desire for God is the truest thing about you.”
Stephanie listened attentively. Her eyes betrayed a mixture of hope and fear. Turning to John’s gospel I asked her, “If you were God and you’d come into human space, what would you say first?”
She thought for a moment, “Stop hurting each other, I guess.”
I showed her Jesus’ first words in John, “What are you looking for?” When she looked up from the text, I said, “Stephanie, Jesus’ first words here are an invitation to you. He is asking you, tonight, what it is you are looking for. God is interested in your desires. Will you take the risk of sharing that with him?”
Leaders are often just as full of hope and fear as Stephanie. We long to lead something significant. We have this tug in our hearts to make a difference. We believe that great things are possible. And yet, we’re afraid. We’re afraid of failure, disappointment, shame, embarrassment, or just plain hard work. Jesus’ words in John 1 are for all of us? What do we really want? What are we looking for?
Goals clarify what we’re looking for. They take us out of vague generalities and press us to get specific. Goals answer three questions; what, when, and how?
- What – What goals clarify the outcome of our efforts. Will we reach 500 freshmen or 1500? Will our weekly meetings be focused on explorers or leaders? Will we follow up with 80% of those interested or 100%? Getting specific increases the likelihood of success exponentially. (The simple act of writing a goal down increases the chance of achieving the goal by more than 70%.)
- When – When goals clarify the timeline for change. Are we expecting to reach 1000 students this week, this month, or this year? Will we multiply small groups in December or January? Will the new focus for weekly meetings roll out in the fall or spring? Articulating a timeline helps us keep track of our activities. If we’re hoping to reach 400 students at a 4-hour club fair, we can check after 2 hours have gone by to see if we’re on track. This gives us the ability to celebrate our progress, or else change our tactics.
- How – How goals clarify the substance of our efforts. They force us to articulate the behaviors, attitudes, skills, plans, and strategies we need to succeed. How goals are the action steps that enable our mission to move forward.
What are you looking for on campus? This is Jesus’ question to us as leaders. Do we have the courage to get specific?
Write a goal in the comment section that captures your desire for campus. Make it specific by answering what, when, and how.