Rules of Thumb for Japanese Ministry #10 Goals

Goals are important. We need to make them, but use them as lighthouses, not concrete paths. Every year with our mission we had to submit a list of goals for the year. I would pray, plan and put down on paper what I felt God wanted us to accomplish by December 31.

Thankfully, the mission didn’t calculate our salary on the basis of our reaching our goals, since honestly I don’t think we ever reached all our goals. The number of baptisms, conversions, new programs, worship attendance were measurable goals that we would have. These are important, but for me they were more like lighthouses, rather than concrete paths and destinations. Particularly, for those of us who share the gospel, there are two factors that can’t be measured, the activity of God and the response of people.

I still believe that goals are important as guiding lights for ministry. But I like one leadership writer said, “We need to be like guided missiles, not like cannons.” With a cannon after we shoot the projectile we have no control over its destination, but with a guided missile, after its airborne we can make adjustments along the way.

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