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Are SMART Goals A Dumb Idea For Youth Pastors?

5 · 08 · 17

We all have goals, but we don’t all reach them the same way.  I should have titled this Are SMART Goals A Dumb Idea For Certain Kinds of Youth Pastors, but that was too long . Certainly, the SMART Goals system will benefit some youth pastors but not all.

Youth Pastors on the whole, tend to be outgoing, gregarious, big picture kind of people, not so concerned with the details of…well, anything. That’s not to say we cannot or should not change, because details are important.

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.  John Wooden

SMART goals are just one we we can put emphasis on and flesh out the details of our biggest goals.

If you’re not familiar with SMART goals, SMART goals is a system to improve your performance and productivity.

SMART goals stands for (with additional options in parenthesis)

Specific (simple, sensible, significant)

Measurable (meaningful, motivating)

Achievable (agreed, attainable)

Realistic (relevant, reasonable, )

Time Bound (time based, time/cost effectiveness, time limit)

Now, why would I think that SMART goals were a dumb idea for youth workers? Well, as I said earlier, youth workers tend to lean to big picture kid of people and some youth workers may say, “This would only slow me down”. Although this might be true, slowing down, making sure you have your bases covered and your goals fleshed out  is not a terrible idea.

I’ve tried SMART goals and it is a valuable tool, but  I was hit and miss on them due to that, “slowing me down thing” and my somewhat ADD personality.

I have been creating events and programs for a long time now, but when I started, I had plenty of events go to crap because I forgot a detail like

  • getting the check to pay the band
  • getting the flyer proofread
  • building a team to promote
  • follow up material for new converts

and the list goes on and on.

I’m an outgoing person. My gifts are in speaking, motivating, etc. On the Briggs Myer personality scale I am a ESFP (Extravert, Sensing, Feeling, Perceptive) the near opposite of this is ISTJ (Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging). This is the personality that is geared toward details. Details is no where to be found in my ESFB.

So, what are you to do if you are the fun loving, big picture, extrovert? Well you can’t just ditch the details just because it’s not in in your personality profile. By the way, Lead/Sr Pastors do not favor the “that’s just not personality” excuse.

Using  SMART goals to dig deeper, to bring out what you really want to accomplish in your youth ministry, is a discipline, a habit we make. No matter what personality you are, you can learn to do something that is not natural to you, it just takes work.  No excuses.

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Recommended Resources

SMART Goals Made Simple 

Wired That Way Personality Profile: An Easy-to-Use Questionnaire for Helping People Discover Their God-Given Personality Type

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