Are Your Goals SMART?

My ministry team and I have a visioning and brainstorming day at least once a year, where we ask ourselves what our ministry could look like and how are we going to get there. We list everything that we do or want to do, rate it on its impact in the field, and assign responsibilities. After this type of session, we are clear which direction we want to go. It’s at that time that we create goals and plans around our vision.

I recently posted on Twitter the following quote: “The goal shapes the plan. The plan shapes the action. The action achieves the results. The results bring success.”

It seems to be a succinct way of saying, ‘plan and plan well.’ After our visioning and planning day, I ask my team to write up three to five SMART goals for themselves based on the tasks that were assigned to them in our ministry. These goals are usually a part of their performance evaluation process. SMART goals are all about having clear goals that we work towards, and which we get measured on during performance evaluations. SMART stands for:

  • SSpecific: no generalized goals in which one never knows if they really accomplished it our not. For instance, “I want to become a better minister” is NOT a specific goal. I have no idea what a goal like that means.
  • MMotivational: goals are meant to motivate you in your work. I want my team to look at their goals each day and be excited about the work that they are doing for God’s church and ministry.
  • AAttainable: this should go without saying, but sometimes I set goals that I could not possibly accomplish in one year. Goals should be realistic. If they are not, they become demotivating, because I know I can’t get it done.
  • RRelevant: goals should make an impact on your ministry and be based on the assigned responsibilities. They should move the ministry closer to its desired vision and make an impact.
  • TTrackable (or time-based): I have to know when a goal is completed. The goal needs a deadline.

Once my goals are written down, I post them somewhere where I can see it everyday in my office. It is a daily reminder of what I set out to do. It’s important to limit it to three to five goals because, any more than that, the likely-hood of accomplishing them all decreases. In the end, the performance evaluation of my team is based solely on these SMART goals that we have set for ourselves. More importantly, these goals lead us to plans, then to action, then to results, then to success in our ministry.

My team wants to make an impact on the churches we serve, which in turn helps churches impact the lives of all God’s people. SMART goals allow us to do that.

Question: What are some of your SMART goals?

John Rinaldo

As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.


John Rinaldo


As the Business Manager at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Morgan Hill, CA, Dr. John Rinaldo serves as the administrator over operations and finances for the parish in support of all parish ministries. Previously, John served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of San Jose, empowering parish communities to minister to the needs of youth and young adults. John is also an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University teaching pastoral ministry courses to graduate students.



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