Three Steps to Setting Achievable Goals

calendar, blue target

In my previous post, I talked about resolutions in a light-hearted manner. Many say they don’t make them, because they don’t work. The news media doesn’t help. Every year I see the same reports telling us how many people don’t keep the resolutions they make. No encouragement there. So, I shared some broad resolutions that are more life directions than actual resolutions. (Read that post HERE.)

I know this, however, seldom do we hit a target we haven’t yet identified or located. So, if you want to improve in certain areas of your life, you need some new direction to get you there. You’ll have to make some changes in what you are currently doing.

Call them goals if you want. That seems to be a more popular word these days, but decide a few areas in which you want to see improvement, then put some goals in place to help you get there. Making positive lifestyle changes isn’t easy, but it really does start with that simple of a process.

To help you get started, here are…

Three guidelines I use for choosing achievable goals:

Quantifiable – Make sure you can make the goal measurable. Don’t say you want to lose weight. Decide how many pounds you want to lose. Don’t say you want to read more. Say you want to read one book a month…something like that. You want to read your Bible more? Then set a goal to read one chapter per day. Not…save more money…but save $50 per pay period…etc.

Reasonable – Set a goal you can actually attain. Otherwise you’ll give up easily. If saving $50 per pay period is completely unreasonable, then decide the reasonable number. It probably should be some stretch to make it worth celebrating later (which is a key component in goal setting), but make sure you can do it. Losing 10 pounds per week is going to be tough…perhaps even unhealthy…but two pounds per week…pretty much anyone can do that with a little discipline.

Motivated – Pick goals you are passionate enough about to put the energy and discipline in it to achieve success. Do you REALLY want to lose weight? Do you TRULY want to do better with your finances? Is reading your Bible ABSOLUTELY a goal worth pursuing? Your degree of motivation will likely determine how committed to achieving the goal you remain.

If you think through setting quantifiable, reasonable and motivated goals, and then you consistently practice them for a month, or two, or better yet three…you’ll be we’ll on your way to successfully completing them. And, the satisfaction from that will be worth celebrating.

If you are really serious about this process and want more, read THIS POST on writing a Life Plan.

Do you set goals (or resolutions) for the new year?

An Organizational Growth Cap Theory

When I consider companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon, the one constant I think of is change. Interestingly, after I typed that first sentence, I Googled “Most Innovative Companies” and found Fast’s list for 2012. How close do you think I got to their list? See for yourself HERE. But, don’t be impressed with my guesswork. You could have done the same thing, because it’s obvious to us that these companies are all about change.

Then I think of churches I know…some of the most growing, Kingdom-impacting churches I know are also the most innovative…the most open to continual change. I think of, for example. Not only have they impacted many with their vision for multi-site/video venues, but they’ve also helped us discover or been a part of YouVersion and Open, a resource website for churches and ministries. I also think of Andy Stanley’s North Point and how their version of doing church and Andy’s preaching style has impacted so many others. Both LifeChurch and North Point appear to be a culture of change. From what I read about their culture, change is continually being introduced.

Let me be clear. I’m not advocating that either of the church models is the right one for every church. Neither are they the exact right model for the church I pastor. I am interested in church growth. I do like to see progress. I do want to avoid capping Kingdom growth.

I am suggesting that there may be something about growth we can learn from the two examples…business and church. My personal experience, and watching other organizations succeed, has led me to believe that there is something about continual change that produces continual growth.

In fact, I wonder if:

The level of growth an organization can experience may be determined by its level of tolerance or resistance to change.

I’m still processing that thought.

What do you think?

Some of my best work…

Is done when I can’t understand all that I’m doing…

  • When things are messy…
  • When my head is cloudy…
  • When I have more questions than answers…
  • When my faith is being stretched…
  • When I am unsure of my position…

If you wait until you have all the answers…where doubt is removed completely…

You’ll often find yourself stagnant on making decisions…

You’ll seldom achieve “the best you can do”…

And the rewards you receive will be less than monumental…

Part of living the Christian faith is actually using it!

How are you currently having to walk by faith?

One who watches the wind will not sow, and the one who looks at the clouds will not reap. (Ecclesiastes 11:4)

Attempting to Eliminate Risk in Leadership

If you want to eliminate risk from leadership…

Here’s what you have to accept:

It will be expensive – You’ll have to eliminate every thing which could go wrong. That will not be cheap to accomplish.

It will be time consuming – You will have to research all scenarios and answer all questions. That will take considerable time.

It may seem impractical – Getting to zero risk may never actually happen regardless of how hard you try. Risk seems to find its way back into the equation, in my experience.

It may be unrealistic– Life is a risk. Risk is all around us. If it involves people, time or circumstances, risk seems more realistic than no risk…to me. I’m not saying it won’t, I’m just questioning how practical that really is and really whether or not that’s even leadership. Leadership by application involves risk.

I’m not trying to stop you from trying to eliminate risk in leadership. Study. Evaluate. Question. Critique. Make practical plans as much as possible. That certainly sounds like good stewardship. I try to do each of those. You can certainly keep doing so until you are comfortable the risk is eliminated. Go for it!

My personal thought, however, is that when eliminating risk is a primary motivation you may lose opportunity. Try to eliminate risk and the world and the best ideas may pass you by.

Eliminating risk certainly doesn’t mesh with my understand of faith, nor does it mesh with the passion or adventure God seems to have given to the people He created. We seem to be by nature seekers of adventure, discovery…risk.

But, if that’s your goal…to eliminate risk…don’t let me stand in your way. Zero risk on the way…right?

Bonus question: What is the biggest risk you are currently attempting?

The Value of a Long-Term Plan

I read a blog post recently that indicated the death of long-term planning was imminent. Their point was that we need to be so flexible in a fast changing world that we should no longer make 5, 10, or 20 year plans. Even a one year plan was diminished in importance for this writer.

I understand. I agree with the writer in principle.

In the age of short-term, instant everything, long-range planning gets a bad rap.I have a concern though.

My fear is if you don’t look further down the road, you’ll wake up surprised someday.

You’ll drift off course…

You’ll lose your way…

You’ll get distracted…

You don’t have to be rigid with your plan. I don’t even like the sound of that. You don’t have to legislate the methods of reaching the plan. That could keep you from embracing current trends. You don’t have to resist change because you have a plan. That seems counter-productive to me.

I just think you may still need a long-term plan.

Knowing where you want to end up is one key to long-term success. To me, that requires a longer term plan.

I know this:

You seldom hit a target you haven’t positioned in front of you.

How do you feel about long-term planning?

Promoting Your Church on Facebook

This is a guest post from Michael Cornett, the founder of Church Website Design .Co, a Christian web design company that helps churches share the Gospel through websites and free social media training. Michael can be reached at or on Twitter @Website4Church.

I believe in using social media for Kingdom purposes, having done online ministry for over 15 years. I’m thankful for the intentionality of ministries and Christian-based businesses helping us to do that well.

Here is how to Promote Your Church on Facebook:

Your church is having a great new band visit in a few weeks and you want to let everyone in your community on Facebook know about it. The problem: your Facebook Page only has 200 “likes.” The solution: create a Facebook page post ad—yes it’s a mouthful to say, but not too difficult to do.

Why should your church create a Facebook page post ad?

1) Share your post with thousands users
2) Target specific demographics with your ad
3) Gain new “likes”
4) Increase awareness of events, mission trips, etc.
5) Inexpensive way to advertise your church’s events

How can my church setup a Facebook page post ad?

First, sign into the Facebook account that is the administrator of your church’s Facebook page.

Once you have logged in, post a short, eye-catching post about the event your church would like to promote. This first step is very important because this post is what everyone will see, so spend some time creating a post that will entice users to click it.
Once you have made a post that you would like to promote, you can begin creating your ad. To get started, go to your home page and click Ads (left hand column).


Next Click Create an Ad (top right).


Under “Destination” choose the appropriate Page. Type->Facebook Ads, Story Type->Page Post Ad, Page Post Selection-> “the post you just created.” Under preview it will show your logo, church name, post, and allow users to like, comment, and share your post.


Know Your Church’s Target Audience

Facebook allows you to control exactly who sees your ads, which is an essential part of targeting the right users and controlling your church’s ad spend. For example: If your church is hosting a new Christian rock band, targeting church members and others within the community 60+ probably isn’t the best use of your money. Choose appropriate ages, gender, location, or even select to only show the ad to fans or friends of current fans.


Creating a Facebook Page Post Ad can be a great way to share your church’s message with a larger audience and if setup properly, will help gain new “likes” for your church Facebook Page. Setting up an ad is a fairly painless process, and if your ads are targeted to the correct demographic, can be very cost efficient. I would encourage all churches to try out a new Facebook Page Post Ad for your next event, mission trip, or even to promote your pastor’s latest sermon on podcast.

“Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow”

Recently I received my copy of “Transformational Discipleship: How People Really Grow” written by my friends Eric Geiger, Philip Nation and Michael Kelley. I was curious about their work, because I believe discipleship is a current weakness overall in the church. How can we do it better? I decided to interview the three Kingdom builders.

Here is my interview on Transformational Discipleship:

Why do you feel strongly about this particular discipleship message?

(Eric) First and foremost, because “making disciples” is the calling laid on the life of the Christian. It’s what we are all supposed to be about, both as a disciple and as one participating in the process of discipling others. Of all the things Jesus might have said when He ascended into heaven, His marching orders to the church involved making disciples. But many of us choose to settle for behavioral modification or the transfer of intellectual knowledge rather than seeking and trusting the Holy Spirit to change people at their core.

(Philip) The charge of making disciples isn’t a passive one. God has called us in the church to take an active role in both our own discipleship and in the discipleship of those around us. It’s a process that we’re all on – as Billie Hanks has said, “I’ve never met a mature Christian, only maturing Christians.” We want to help people move into that journey for their own sake and for the sake of those around them.

(Michael) This particular message about discipleship is helpful, I think, because we are attempting to articulate the balance between doing and believing. We want to embrace that ultimately only the Holy Spirit can transform an individual. It’s His work, and yet we are to play an active role in that work. While we don’t transform ourselves or anyone else, we can try and create an environment, in our lives and our churches, that is ready to embrace the work of the Spirit.

Let’s address the title of the book. Why is the book called Transformational Discipleship?

(Eric) Each of the words in the title is significant. Every person in the world is a disciple because everyone follows someone or something. That’s what a disciple is – a follower. But while every person is a disciple, not every person is transformed.

What we are really after as followers of Christ is transformation. That’s the process in which something actually becomes something else. So growing in Christ isn’t just putting on a new set of habits or behaving differently; it’s deeper than that.

Being a disciple is simply following Jesus to a greater and greater degree. And if we are following Him, then we are through our lives becoming something different. The Holy Spirit and He alone does this transforming work in the hearts of people. What our job is, as church leaders, isn’t to transform; it’s to set the conditions that are most conducive for real transformation to occur.

(Michael) In the book, we liken this kind of partnership to water skiing. The person behind the boat isn’t the one who lifts himself of the water or pulls him across the lake. The boat has all of the power. But the one with the skies on does play a part. He or she must place themselves in the right posture behind the boat, giving the one driving the boat a “thumbs up” sign, and prepare for the ride.

Spiritual transformation is the same. God is the one enabling His people to mature and grow while His people are invited to place themselves in the right posture.

The subtitle is How People Really Grow. So in a nutshell, how does that growth happen?

(Eric) We frame the process of spiritual growth in the book through three circles: Truth, Posture and Leaders. The place where those three circles converge is what we call the transformational sweet spot.

The sweet spot on a bat or a tennis racket is the place that has the most potential impact when you hit the ball. In the same way, when these three factors come together a church is set up to experience transformational discipleship.

Here’s how we articulate those three factors coming together: The transformational sweet spot is the intersection of truth given by healthy leaders when someone is in a vulnerable posture.

Unpack that definition a bit. Each of those words (truth, leaders, posture) are big terms. What specifically do you mean by them?

(Philip) In each of the three areas, we highlight specific ideas that aid transformation to occur. We call them lenses. So for truth, there are three specific lenses that contribute to transformation: the gospel, identity, and the spiritual disciplines.

It’s especially important for leaders to understand these lenses because they influence the way they present God’s truth to the people that have been entrusted to their care. For a leader, then, to present the truth, they focus on the gospel, understand that in the gospel a person’s identity is made new and different in Christ, and equip their people to participate in the spiritual disciplines.

You say that truth should be applied by healthy leaders to people in a vulnerable posture. What makes a person have a vulnerable posture?

(Michael) All kinds of things. It could be a significant life change or a period of loss. It could be a conscious choice on someone’s part to orient life around learning and obedience. In the book, we describe three characteristics of someone in this kind of vulnerable, or teachable, posture: Such a person is aware of their weakness, interdependent on others, and has an outward focus.

This section was really personal for each of us because we all looked back and knew that there were certain parts of our lives when we were most receptive to the truth of God. Most of those times coincided with some tough life event that pushed us into that posture. That’s one of the reasons why healthy leaders are so important; they are able to be a stabilizing influence in the lives of their people, helping them see how God’s truth meets them in their time of need.

Tell us a bit about the research that’s outlined in the book.

(Philip) In 2010, LifeWay Research embarked on an ambitious research project. We surveyed believers about their spiritual lives and level of maturity. We wanted to look into the major arenas of life where spiritual maturity takes place.

The research was done in three phases. First, we did a qualitative survey of experts in the field of discipleship. Members of our research team did interviews with recognized experts from multiple countries including pastors, professors, and church leaders from a variety of backgrounds.

From these experts in the field of discipleship, our research team gained a better understanding of what is taking place in the church both domestically and in other countries (specifically in the Hispanic context).

After the expert interview phase, the research team also conducted survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors in North America. The survey delved into the type of discipleship ministries being used in churches and the satisfaction level that they have with them. The survey revealed a great deal of paradoxes occurring between pastors’ hope that people are maturing and the level of satisfaction they have that believers truly are maturing.

Finally, the team at LifeWay Research did a survey of 4,000 Protestant Christians in North America. Of that number, approximately 1,100 were in Canada and the survey was done in three languages: English, Spanish, and French.

It was a really extensive project, and we’re excited to frame the results in this book.

Is this a research driven project?

(Eric) Yes and no. It’s certainly a project that’s supported by research, but we didn’t want it to read like a pure research book. We wanted it to be accessible for pastors and church leaders of all kinds. So while you’ll clearly see the research in the book, it’s driven more by biblical truth.

What role does the church play in transformational discipleship?

(Michael) If you look at the transformational sweet spot, you’ll see there are three major components: truth, posture, and leaders. Truth comes from God and is brought out in His word. The posture piece relates to the individual disciple. But the leader is the one who brings those two things together. Take out any of those three pieces and you get a deficiency in discipleship.

Transformational discipleship most effectively happens in the context of the local church. The church shouldn’t be an “add on” to someone growing in Christ, but instead the relationships between members of the church are the context in which this transformation happens.

(Philip) While it’s certainly not happening everywhere, the research that led to Transformational Discipleship gave us a lot of hope. Leaders in the church understand that their chief role is to involve themselves deeply in this process. The church can’t be a place where intellectual knowledge is transferred; neither can it be a place where behaviors are merely modified. Neither of those things is transformation. Real transformation is not just doing or knowing something different; it’s being something different. It’s an incredible privilege to be a church leader and be deeply involved in this work of the Holy Spirit.

You emphasize early on in the book that this statement of the transformational sweet spot isn’t a formula or a model but a framework. Why is that?

(Eric) When I co-authored Simple Church, it was meant to challenge leaders to have a process for discipleship, but it was never intended to be a model (the first paragraph of the book read, “this is not a model”). But for the last five years many church leaders treated the book as a “new model” for church ministry.

We love prescription. But you can’t “prescribe” the work of the Holy Spirit. You can describe His work, based on the biblical evidence and the stories we’ve heard, but you can’t simply put in a model and expect the Holy Spirit to just fall in line.

(Michael) We don’t want anyone to treat the transformational framework in the book as a new mission statement; we want it to help people understand to a greater degree how people mature in the church. When we start to see how leaders, truth, and posture intersect, it changes the way we teach, program, develop leaders, and even do pastoral care. But it doesn’t eliminate the need to listen to the voice of the Spirit to see how those things will change in one particular local church.

Again, that’s the divine/human partnership at work.

What are you hoping is accomplished through Transformational Discipleship?

(Philip) I’m praying that Transformational Discipleship will fill the church with hope. The good news is that the Holy Spirit is most definitely at work transforming the hearts of Christians. What we want to do in the book is reaffirm His work and try to give leaders some very helpful footholds – some ways of thinking that can inform and shape their ministries for the years to come.

(Michael) Discipleship is a big word to a lot of people. It’s intimidating, and while there is something mysterious about the way the Spirit works in the hearts of God’s people, discipleship isn’t reserved for some special class of Christians. So my hope is that through the book, the way people really grow in Christ might be de-mystified a bit. Not in the sense that we lessen the emphasis on the work of the Spirit, but in the sense that the way this happens becomes simplified in our minds.

(Eric) I want the church to enter into a day of playing offense rather than defense. The human heart isn’t something pure that needs to be protected; it’s something wicked that needs to be transformed. Jesus wants us to be on the move – to play offense. To take ground for the kingdom in confidence because of who He is. So my prayer is that the book helps us to see how we can be active partners with God to see people truly grow deep in Jesus.

What are your thoughts on discipleship in the church today? How are we doing?

Building a Platform: Introducing Michael Hyatt’s New Book

The tension between self promotion and effectiveness in ministry is huge.

As a pastor, I am conscious of appearing to build a platform for my own self interests. Being online as much as I am is a struggle for those who don’t understand my Kingdom purpose. Of course, some are looking to criticize any pastor who uses non-traditional methods. My online presence makes me even more prone to attract critics. I have to not only be careful what I say, but the way I say it. For example, if I use the term “my church” I get criticized by some who gently (sometimes not so gently) remind me that it’s not my church, but Jesus’ church.

Okay, okay, I hear you, but regardless of the methods we use, God has given us responsibility in Kingdom-building; in disciple-making. I personally recognize the opportunities we now have to use our influence in social media to advance the cause of Christ online. I’ve been doing online ministry for over 15 years, and as with anything I do, I want to do it to the best of my ability. Scripture is clear that whatever we do, we should do it to the glory of God. Being effective online means I need to build a platform from which to leverage that online influence to the highest potential. Therein also lies the tension.

That’s why I find Michael Hyatt‘s new book Platform to be especially helpfulto pastors and anyone else wanting to use their influence for good. Whether as a pastor, a non-profit leader, or an individual who wants to advance a worthy cause, the insight Michael offers in Platform will help you build a better and bigger audience and allow you to make the most of your God-given talents. Michael not only knows how to build a strong platform, but, having sat with him and heard his heart, he lives his life with Kingdom purpose. I can learn from a guy with that underlying motivation.

Honestly, I’ve said consistently, if I could leave my name off my blog I would, but people today need to know who is behind a message. For that, one needs a platform. Michael helps you do that.

Michael is the master of platform building, having built his personal brand to an exceptional level over the last few years. Michael has positioned himself as an expert in social media and leadership. Much of that has come through his willingness to invest in others, which is how I became familiar with Michael. I’ve been blessed by our time together and his investment in me.

It should come as no surprise that with the launch of Platform, Michael would want to give his readers more. For those who purchase the book between May 21 and midnight on May 25, Mike is giving away $375.98 in bonus resources for Platform. Wow! How do you beat that deal?

Build your platform now. Buy Michael’s book HERE.

Do you ever balance building a platform to leverage influence versus simply promoting yourself?

Taking Initiative

This is a guest post by Joey Berrios. Joey is an educator, writer, and designer. You can read his blog at He is the author of Addicted To Love.

Taking Initiative

We all have the fear of rejection. We all have the fear of putting ourselves out there. We all have the fear of taking a risk. We all have the fear of failing. We all have a part of ourselves that wants to play it safe and hold back when it comes to our personal creativity and innovation.

Seth Godin says the following about our fear of taking initiative in his book Poke The Box: “The simple thing that separates successful individuals from those who languish is the very thing that separates exciting and growing organizations from those that stagnate and die. The winners have turned initiative into a passion and a practice. The challenge, it turns out, isn’t in perfecting your ability to know when to start and when to stand by. The challenge is getting into the habit of starting.”

Fear holds us back from personal breakthroughs and innovation. Fear keeps us from speaking up when we have a great idea. Fear keeps us from creating something beautiful that can enhance the lives of others. Fear causes us to be mediocre. If we are not careful, fear can rob us of our creativity and passion. By playing it safe, we rob ourselves of the difference we can truly make as leaders in the lives of others.

One of the greatest qualities of a leader is the ability to take initiative. A great leader does not wait to be told what to do: he finds what needs to be done and does it. A great leader understands that he must fight to keep himself from being controlled by fear and doubt.

Examine the following quotes from a few of our world’s great leaders:

“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” -Conrad Hilton (Hilton Hotels)

The right man is the one who seizes the moment.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“I would rather regret the things I have done than the things I have not.” -Lucille Ball

“An idea is worthless unless you use it.” -John Maxwell

Is there a project you have been dragging your feet on? Is there an idea that you are passionate about? Is there a goal that you want to accomplish? Don’t let fear keep you from taking the necessary steps to reach your desired future. Yes, you will have haters. Yes, your ideas might not always workout the way that you planned. But what option do you really have? You cannot afford to do nothing. You must step out and take a risk. You must take initiative and bring your dream to life.

Success comes to those who are extraordinary. There are far too many people who are playing it safe in our world today. Our world needs leaders who are willing to take the risks necessary to bring their ideas to life. Playing it safe and refusing to take risks will only chain us to mediocrity. By taking initiative, we can begin to see our creativity and innovation make an impact on our world.

Where in your life do you most need to take initiative?

10 Questions to Evaluate Your Personal Progress

This week every year, I review my personal progress for the year. Would you like to play along?

Here are some examples of questions I ask myself:

  • What did I do that worked well?
  • What did I attempt that didn’t work?
  • Did I meet my goals?
  • What could I do better with a little tweaking?
  • What should I stop doing so I can do other things?
  • Where is my time most being wasted?
  • What discipline do I most need to implement into my day?
  • What was my most memorable moment?
  • What drains my energy just to think about doing again?
  • What changes do I need to make?

Are you playing?

Here’s to a great 2012!