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Why are goals important?

Many church planters are so eager to plant their church that they overlook this important step of writing a goal. Here are six reasons why setting a goal for your project is important.

1. Goals help increase our faith

A goal is a declaration of fruit that is to come. It looks forward to a future that is bigger and better than our present situation. As of now, it's still unseen.

& Faith is … what we do not see. (Heb. 11:l)

A goal is a statement of what we will see … by faith! To set a goal takes faith. We need to trust God for the goal to be achieved. To declare our goal publicly takes even more faith. Exercising our faith in this way is good for us. And it also pleases God.

& Without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6)

An example of a goal is: to plant a church with 30 new baptized believers in Bgy. Barangka Ibaba by Dec. 31, 2002. If you look there now you won't find this church. But we see it … by faith!

& Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Heb. 11:1)

By faith we work and trust God to do it. This is faith that pleases God.

Set a goal to plant a church. Exercise your faith. If you don't set any goals, you'll miss this opportunity.

2. Goals help minimize wasted outreaches

"Sige na. May contact na tayo roon. Mag-outreach na tayo." Every year, thousands of outreaches are hastily opened without a goal. After a year or two, over 90% of these outreaches die off with no lasting fruit. Sayang na sayang!

Having a clear goal could make a big difference! The goal of the Great Commission is clearly to "make disciples" (Mt. 28:19). Disciples are learners or followers of Christ. It's impossible to make disciples outside of a local church. All outreaches should have a goal to bring the converts into a church. This could be either an existing church, or a new church could be planted for the new converts. We can make converts without bringing people into a church. But we can't make disciples. Any outreach that makes only converts, and doesn't bring these converts into a church, comes short of fulfilling the Great Commission.

Why do so many of our outreaches make only converts and not disciples? A big part of the problem is that many outreaches begin with no goal! In many outreaches it's unrealistic to expect the new believers to come to the mother church. This could be because it's very far away. Yet in many, there's also no goal to plant a new church. Outreaches like this are doomed right at the start. No outreach should ever be opened without a goal!

Someone once said, "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time." That's exactly the goal of many outreaches—nothing! And that's the fruit that remains after a year or two—nothing! Sayang lang.

Fortunately, we can easily fix this. Have a goal for every outreach! You could have a goal to bring the converts into an existing church, if that's realistic. If not, there must be a goal to plant a church for the new converts. This produces fruit that will last! This could minimize years of wasted outreach efforts!

Are you thinking about opening an outreach? Mag-isip muna sandali! What is your goal? If you don't have a goal, don't open that outreach! If you open an outreach with no goal, it will probably be one of the many thousands that die off after a year or two with no lasting fruit! Sayang, lang!

3. Goals help give us clear direction

"Let's reach this whole city for Christ!" It's good to have vision like this. It's even better to state this vision as a clearly measurable goal. Goals can help put our vision in concrete terms.

When working with a team, we can gain clear direction by agreeing together on goals. Proverbs 20:5 says "The purposes of a man's heart are deep waters…" Most people have deep desires that are like deep waters. They're not very clear.

The same verse goes on to say, "…but a man of understanding draws them out." A good leader can help a group come to an agreement on their goals. He enables his team members to express their deep desires, and helps them reach an agreement on the group's goals, providing clear direction. Clear direction gives greater efficiency, more fruit and greater unity.

We can then focus on the action steps to take to accomplish the goal. This will help prioritize the use of resources (money, materials, time). A clear goal gives clear direction to a church planting team.

4. Goals build anticipation and motivation

It's a lot of hard work to plant a church. When planting a church in Bgy. San Jose, there were plenty of days I felt too lazy to go. But I remembered the goal! A church with at least 25 adult members in Bgy. San Jose! This helped to keep me motivated and going.

Jesus had a goal. Read Hebrews 12:2 and look for His goal there:

& Let us fix our eyes on Jesus … who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame.

Do you see it? His goal was "the joy set before Him." His "joy" was to save us and to have an eternal relationship with us. This was His "joy set before Him."

Because He was motivated to achieve this goal, He endured much. He "endured the cross, scorning its shame."

Those who are motivated to achieve the goal of planting a church will also be willing to endure many things: init, ulan, usok, lamok, pagod, puyat, gutom, kabiguan, sakripisyosige lang! It's all worth it, to reach the goal! A new church in Bgy. San Jose! Without a goal, it's easy to just stay home. Goals are powerful motivators.

5. Achieved goals bring great joy

& A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul. (Prov. 13:19)

When the church is established and the goal is achieved, ibang klaseng galak.

6. You will be much more likely to plant a church if you have a goal to do so

It's that simple. Of course, having a goal to plant a church doesn't mean that it will automatically happen. But it's unlikely that an outreach that's opened, without a goal to become a church, will somehow become a church. Do you want to plant a church? Set a goal to do it!

Why some church planters do not set goals

If goals are so important, then why do so many church planters not have goals?

1. They don't know it's important

Perhaps they're not aware of the reasons we've just covered.

2. They don't know how

Maybe this is you. Maybe you have now seen, for the first time, that goals are valuable. But you don't know how to write goals. Don't worry. We'll get to that in just a minute.

3. They lack the discipline to take the time to do it

Some church planters know goals are valuable. They also know how to write good goals. But even though they know how, they still don't do it. They just don't have the discipline to state their goals clearly before starting a project. Sige-sige na lang. Diretso na tayo sa gawain.

4. They think it's not spiritual since only God knows the future

Goals state our hope for the future. Some church planters think this is presumptuous. After all, only God knows the future. This is being overly precautious. Goal setting and planning are biblical.

& The plans of the diligent lead to profit. (Prov. 21:5)

& In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. (Prov. 16:9)

It is true that God is the One who determines our steps. But we should still plan our course, rather than have a bahala na mindset.

5. They will be embarrassed if they don't reach the goal

"Ayokong magsabi ng goal ko. Baka hindi matupad. Mapahiya lang ako."

So rather than take this chance, many church planters don't set goals. If they do have goals, they keep them secret.

Yes, goals are risky. That's faith! Charles Kraft, in his book, Christianity with Power, says faith is spelled R-I-S-K. If we are in tune with God, and He is leading us as we set goals, make them known—by faith! If we don't reach our goals, we can always reevaluate and adjust our plan.

Unwillingness to risk really means a lack of faith.

How to write goals

Okay. Here's how to do it. It's easy to write goals once you know the characteristics they should have. Well-written goals will be SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-oriented and Time-bound.1


In setting goals for church planting, choose a specific target barangay. We will study this in detail in Chapter 7. After choosing a specific barangay, you can develop a unique plan to reach the people of that place.


Set a goal to reach a measurable number of people. It will probably be best to use the number that your denomination recognizes as the minimum for an official church. Some denominations require as few as 15 members. Others require as many as 75. When you reach this number, you will meet one of your requirements of becoming an official church.


Set a goal that will stretch your faith. The goal should be beyond where you are now. At the same time, it must be realistic. Some overzealous church planters and pastors make the mistake of setting goals which are too high. When members realize from the start that the goal is impossible to reach they won't pay any attention to it.

Goals should give motivation. But unrealistic goals don't motivate. Instead, they are ignored. Achievable goals are the ones that motivate people to help.


Well-written goals measure the result or fruit desired, rather than just stating an activity. Some make the mistake of confusing goals with activities like the following:

• hold three crusades

• visit every home

• pass out 500 tracts

You could do all of these activities and produce no lasting fruit! This often happens.

We need to do more than just be involved in activities. SMART goals help us measure the result or fruit that will be produced from activities. This helps us to aim for fruit, and not just activities.


Goals for church planting should include a specific target date for when the church—by faith—will actually be established. Without target dates we can easily postpone things. Saka na lang. Some church planting projects drag on for two, three or even four years. Most just die. Having a target date helps us plan the things we need to do to plant the church within a reasonable time. It helps us stay focused. Projects with target dates will usually bear more fruit faster than those without target dates.

Let's add two more characteristics to SMART goals.


Ownable means everyone involved wants to achieve the goal. It's important to them. You can encourage ownership by involving everyone who will take part in the project in setting the goal and making the plans. Include their input. If you announce or explain a goal that you alone have chosen, this will decrease ownership and motivation.

Prayerfully Set

Some make the mistake of setting goals based on mere human wisdom. We need God's help, not only when we are out in the target barangay, but even as we set our goal. Let's seek His direction. Listen to Him. Then go for it, by faith.

& Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Prov. 16:3)

Sample Goals

Look at the following goal. In light of the criteria we've just considered above, would you say that it's a SMART goal?

• We will plant a church in Bgy. Barangka Ibaba by Sept. 30, 2003.

Did you spot what's missing? It's not measurable. It should include a measurable number of people that they hope to bring into their new church. Let's fix it:

• We will plant a church in Bgy. Barangka Ibaba with 30 new baptized members by Sept. 30, 2003.

Now that's a SMART goal!


Review the characteristics of SMART goals. Which of the following goals have all the characteristics of SMART goals?

If the goal below has all the characteristics of a SMART goal, write SMART on the following line. If it's missing one or more of the characteristics, write the missing characteristic(s) on the line. (You can use another piece of paper if you'd like to.) The answers are in the Notes in the back of the book.3

1. We will plant a church in Batangas.


2. We will plant a church with 30 adult baptized members by Dec. 31, 2003.


3. We will plant a church in Bgy. San Isidro by Nov. 30, 2003.


4. We will plant a church in Bgy. Wawa with 30 new adult baptized members by Sept. 30, 2003.


5. We will plant a church in Bgy. Dela Paz with 30 adult baptized members as soon as possible.


6. We will pass out 1,000 tracts in Bgy. San Roque every month.


7. We will hold 10 evangelistic crusades by Sept. 30, 2003 in Bgy. Manggahan.


8. We will plant a church in Bgy. San Jose with 10,000 members within one month.


You try it!

Practice writing a goal to plant a church. Make sure your goal includes all of the characteristics of a SMART goal.






Many church planters are not in the habit of writing things down, especially goals. Because of this, a worksheet is provided on p. 107 to make writing your goal easier. Just fill in the blanks.

By faith, we will plant a church in _____________


with at least ________ new baptized adults by __________________________.

Madali lang, hindi ba?

Goals are part of good planning, which the Bible exhorts us to do.

& The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. (Prov. 21:5)

Mas maganda pa ang dating sa Tagalog.

& Ang mabuting pagbabalak ay pinakikinabangan, ngunit ang dalus-dalos na paggawa'y walang kahihinatnan. (Kaw. 21:5, Magandang Balita Biblia)

Once your goal is clear, you're ready to plan the action steps you will take to achieve your goal.

Action planning and discussion

1. Name some outreaches that were opened without a goal and that died off after a year or two.

2. Do any of the reasons why some church planters don't set goals apply to you? If yes, which one(s)?

3. How can this chapter on goals be helpful to you in your church planting project?

4. Take time to pray and seek God's direction and His goal for your church plant.

The main thing to do now

q Write your goal to plant a church. You can use the worksheet below. Make this your actual goal for your church planting project. (You may want to read chapter 7 before finalizing your target barangay.)

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This page was last updated on 15 July 2013.