Do This Before Goal Setting for Small Groups

Q: Did you know that about 90% of New Year’s Resolutions fail before the end of the year?

At the start of a new year, many people reflect on the past year and set resolutions to improve. These resolutions include becoming healthy, improving relationships, volunteering more, getting organized, and becoming financially secure. The resolutions are put in place each year with the best intentions to change for the better. Unfortunately, most people give up before the benefits are realized.

Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Two of the reasons these resolutions fail are because:

  1. The person isn’t motivated enough to overcome obstacles that occur
  2. The resolution wasn’t as important as it seemed when it was put in place

Small Group Goal-Setting

Many small group point people use the start of a new year to reflect on the effectiveness of their program over the past year and set goals for the upcoming year. It is a great practice for you to make a habit.

But your small group ministry is too important to go the way of the typical New Year’s Resolution. Your ministry can transform the lives of many people. There is something you can do to turn things in your favor.

strategic process for small groups
Strategic Planning and Execution Process

What Goal-Setting Needs First

Goal setting needs to be done with the support of a God-inspired vision, mission, purpose, and values. By having these clearly defined and communicated to your team, you and your team will be able to set goals that are the most important and effective towards fulfilling the vision. Also, everyone will be motivated to overcome any obstacle that comes between them and meeting each goal.

“A desperate need-based request typically doesn’t recruit many people, but a well-thought-out vision will draw in more people and inspire them in ways you never thought possible.”

Steve Gladen in “Planning for Small Groups with Purpose

Strategic Planning Process

The above table is a simple description of a strategic planning and execution process that I use. Experts don’t always agree on the order of the items prior to setting goals. They also don’t always agree on the specific definition of the terms. For example, many define mission and purpose so the words are used interchangeably. That is not important. What is important is that you use a proven process.

Notice that “prayer” is surrounding the table. This is because God needs to be the inspiration throughout the entire process. You will be amazed at what he will do through your small group ministry if you allow him to lead. He knows what is best and His thoughts and ways are always higher than our own. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Vision – A God-inspired vision will help you align your goals with where your program needs to go.

Mission – Understanding what you do will keep goals within your scope and focused on your strengths.

Purpose – Knowing and communicating why you are working on the goals will keep you and your team motivated, even during the difficult times.

Values – Defining what’s most important will help you define what the goals need to be.

Prayer – Most importantly, seeking God’s plan, being obedient, and allowing Him to work through you will give you the opportunity to experience Him doing extraordinary things through your ministry.

Need Help?

Would you like to learn more about implementing a strategic process designed for small group ministry? Seek out wisdom from others who have already done it successfully. (Proverbs 15:22) Read and implement the book “Planning for Small Groups with Purpose” by Steve Gladen. Even better, develop your strategic plan in 2-3 days with guidance from Small Group Network leaders and other small group point people at an Accelerate! event. I attended Accelerate! Virginia this year and highly recommend it.

Enjoy the sunny beaches of southern California, grow as a leader, strengthen your team & accelerate the health & growth of your small group ministry by attending our “Accelerate!” SoCal Small Group Workshop coming July 2019! For more info & to lock in EARLY BIRD RATES click HERE!


  • Roger Carr

    Roger Carr lives in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia with his wife Kim. They have been married for over 35 years and have a son who is enjoying life in Minneapolis. Roger is an engineer by day and small group advocate by night. He supports the small group ministry at Lifepoint Church through leading, coaching, and writing. He is also the blogger behind

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Daniel Thomas

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Daniel serves as Executive Pastor at Community Church of Mountain City, TN.  Daniel and his family are on a mission to establish roots within their community, fight for peace and serve well.  He serves as our Connections Director in laying the groundwork for Circles. He loves great coffee and traveling with his wife Tia and two children, Deklan and Aden



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