How to Write SMART Goals

November 26, 2013


Children's Ministry Goals
Once you know your purpose, mission, and vision, it’s time to create some goals. Goals are the result that you are working towards; the aim.

There are some similarities here to vision, but goals are much more specific. The vision is a single sentence dream for your kids. Goals are the multiple, specific and measurable steps you are going to take to get there.

Goals can be general for children’s ministry or specific to a program. However, since you are creating steps to fulfill your vision, it’s better to be as specific as possible. You will want to create goals for each program you have in children’s ministry that will help you fulfill your vision.

How to write good goals – Be SMART!

Here is an example of a poorly written goal: “I’m going to get volunteers this year.” How will you know when you have achieved your goal? Did you set a time limit on accomplishing this goal? What action are you going to take to get it done? How will you determine that it has been completed? This goal example can be better written if the following criteria are used.


A specific goal is clear-cut. It is precise and definite. It is simply written and clearly defines what you are going to do. It is precise, not general.


A measurable goal is capable of being measured. You can determine if it has been accomplished. How will you know your goal has been completed?


An actionable goal outlines the steps you will take to complete the goal. An actionable goal will have verbs in it like telephone, ask, or teach.


A realistic goal is one that can be done. It might be difficult but it is something that is possible to accomplish. It’s practical in terms of time, opportunity, budget, and resources.


A timely goal has an end date. A timely goal will be accomplished by a certain time. It is a deadline – a time by which you want to have achieved your goal.


So instead of “I’m going to get volunteers this year,” a smart goal would look like this, “On August 19th I am going to telephone 15 prospective volunteers and ask them to serve in the nursery.”

This new goal is specific because it clearly states who is going to do it, when they are going to do it and what it is they are going to do (specific words or phrases in this goal are August 19th, 15 prospective volunteers, serve in the nursery.)

This goal is measurable because it will be completed when 15 calls to prospective volunteers have been made.

It is actionable because the actions taken are clearly stated. You are going to telephone and ask.

It is realistic because it is easily possible to call 15 people in one day.

And finally, it is timely because a date is given. You will know on August 20th whether this goal has been met or not.

Goal Writing Tips

When writing goals avoid words like try, could, and by the end of the year. These words aren’t specific or measurable, or timely.

A well-written goal says what you are going to do and how you are going to do it.

For every goal you write, evaluate it based on these criteria. Is it specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely?

These may seem daunting at first, but as you accustom yourself to writing goals this way, you will find it easier and easier. You will also quickly see the wisdom in well-written goals. You will find you need to write new ones as old ones are accomplished!

Purpose, Mission, Vision, and Goals in Children’s Ministry Series:

Introduction – Purpose, Mission, Vision, and Goals in Children’s Ministry

Do You Have a Purpose?

Is Your Mission a Secret Mission?

How’s Your Vision?

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About Janelle

I am passionate about Jesus and kids and the people who work with kids in the church. I want to help empower children’s ministry volunteers – especially those who work in small and rural churches.

View all posts by Janelle

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