If you are going to celebrate the win, you have to know what a win looks like.  By defining the win, we can more easily decide whether something is a success or failure, because we can see if it is accomplishing its goal.  Unfortunately, there is no stock answer as to what a win looks like, but there are some steps to follow in defining one.

Let’s take a look at the steps.

  • Establish the purpose of the event: This is crucial.  What do you hope to accomplish by hosting this event.  Is it outreach?  Is it discipleship?  Fellowship?  If the event is outreach, then having 40 church kids and no visitors show would not be a win.  If it is fellowship, than it might be.  Example, when we do our annual outreach I am always tempted to invite other churches from the area so more people will be there.  My spirit is always checked in this.  If the goal is outreach, why do I want to invite people who already have church?  At best, they would leave their church to come to mine and that does more harm than good.
  • Pray: Prayer is a component to the Christian walk.  Ultimately, every event should be done to help further the cause of Christ and who better to ask about what qualifies as a win than Him?  Encourage your leaders to pray as well.  Pray together with your leaders.
  • Make it clear and tangible: Saying, “I want to have a good event” or “we want to reach people” is arbitrary.  There is not a good way of evaluating whether or not the goal was accomplished.  Again, if you have key staff or volunteers, include them on this.  If it is just you and a spouse or you and your senior pastor, make them a part of the decision.  Example, during our annual family outreach (which is strategically piggy-backed onto our kids outreach), our goal last year was to add two new family units.  I also always have a number that I would like our kids’ ministry to grow to.  The first year, I just wanted to have a kid in the ministry.  The next year, we wanted to make it to ten kids.  This summer, we will probably shoot to increase our kids’ ministry to fifteen (but I haven’t really prayed much about that yet).  Another tangible goal we have set is how much we would like to give to a specific missions project.
  • Write them down: No matter what you decide for your wins, write them down somewhere.  Even just on a piece of scratch paper.  This will serve you through your preparation as a reminder of just what you hope to accomplish.  If you are more professional and have someone taking notes at your planning meetings, make sure the wins are in the notes (I probably should start doing this, but I’m not much a notes guy).
  • Leave room for God: Your goals should stretch you.  Don’t set goals that are too easy to accomplish and never strive to just achieve them, strive to exceed them.  I often will set two sets of wins, my goal and my God goal.  It’s my way of saying, God I believe we can reach x amount of people, but I believe you can reach x + y amount of people (wow, algebra!).  I shoot for the God goal, but we still win if we reach the smaller goal.

What process have you used to define your wins?  Take a look at this year’s calendar.  Of all the events and programs you have going, how many of them have arbitrary goals that need to be made tangible?  When was the last time you defined what a successful Sunday School looks like besides, “help people learn about Jesus?”  (Guilty, but have now challenged myself to work on it.)