How Goal Setting and Metrics Work Together in a Disciple Making Movement System


In our last webinar, Metrics that Matter: Measuring the Right Things for Movement, I talked about the importance of vision, clear definition, and strategic elements are for determining what to measure if you want to be part of staring Disciple Making Movements.

I did not, however, talk about goals setting or establishing desired outcomes.  I thought I'd take care of that here.


Most goals aren't as helpful as they could be.

I run into a lot of disciple-makers who set (or have set for them) goals like this: 

"In the next year, we will find 10 Persons of Peace and start 10 Discovery Groups."

On the surface, this goal seems pretty reasonable.  It hits every element of a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound) goal.  We might even argue that this goal is super conservative, particularly if you compare it with what is happening among people groups currently ramping up to, or experiencing, a Disciple Making Movement. Unfortunately, I see a couple of problems:

1.  "10 Persons of Peace" - Raising up a Person of Peace is entirely God's work in the heart of someone who doesn't yet know Him.  We partner with Him in His work through Extraordinary Prayer and by intentionally engaging people who haven't had a chance to fall in love with Him yet.  We probably shouldn't make goals around things we cannot control.

2.  "10 Discovery Groups" - This is better.  We can start Discovery Groups.  But, once again, our ability to start Discovery Groups is predicated on finding Persons of Peace.  We are creating a goal around something we really can't control.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Goals like this are better than none at all.  This goal will drive activity.  Going by the goal alone, though, I'm not sure it will be the right activity. 

Setting helpful goals with clearly-stated desired outcomes.


 What if we used the goal above, but put it in the category of a desired outcome.

Desired Outcome: "By the end of the year, as a result of all our hard work, we want to have discovered 10 Persons of Peace and launched 10 Discovery Groups."

Then, we break down what you and your team have to do if that outcome is even going to be possible.  We make goals around those things.

Goal:  Within the next four months, each team member will mobilize, train, and equip 50 new prayer partners who will pray daily for our team, our people group, and for God to raise up 10 Persons of Peace this year.

Goal:  Within the next 30 days, each team member will select a hobby or other regular personal activity (maybe start a small business) that allows them to have casual, meaningful, and - eventually - spiritual conversations with people who do not know Jesus several times per week.

Goal:  Within the next 30 days, our team will brainstorm, select, and begin planning four event-based activities we can do as a team this year to serve our community and allow us to meet more people who don't follow Jesus.

There are other goals that I would make, but you get the point.  These specific goals are built around strategic elements that are necessary to start a Disciple Making Movement.  Specifically, the elements of prayer, engagement, and finding Persons of Peace.

You may also notice that I allow flexibility within each goal for team members to be themselves.  I don't define how they are going to meet the goal, just that they do and share what they are going to do with the team.  

Finally, the time constraints on each goal vary.  This is key.  Set some goals that you can achieve within the first 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, and so on.  Accomplishing a goal allows for celebration.  Celebration will hopefully result in worship.  Celebration and worship together fuel momentum and help you all accomplish the next goal as you pursue your desired outcome.


Hope that helps.  Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

1 comment

  • Thank you Paul for posting this. I was just reflecting on why things haven’t moved as fast as I had hoped they would recently with finding persons of peace and starting discovery groups in my area.
    As a leader in my day job, I recognize the importance of strategic clarity and developing smart goals. I found that in my enthusiasim to “get started” I actually overlooked the importance of building up my prayer team.
    I was telling my wife the last time I went out with a group of guys (including my 3 teenage sons) we essentially took entire “fire team” and had no “covering fire team” as we patrolled and stormed the hill.
    We felt unprepared, nervous, and a bit “exposed” and while we had a few good conversations, it was evident we had missed something.

    When Jesus sent out the 72 his first commandment was to pray for workers.

    Thanks for the reminder to build that prayer team (overwatch team) upfront when participating with the Lord in a disciple making movement.

    Jody Staley

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