Setting Goals

When you have no specific, measurable objective, your efforts may fall short of what they could have been if you’d had a target.

When you go on vacation, you usually have some destination in mind before you start out. Some vacations, of course, are planned around wandering about, seeing the beauties of nature. But most people have a set goal in mind -- Grandma’s house, cousin Telina’s ranch, Paris, France, or Macchu Picchu.

After you decide on a destination, you plan how many miles you want to travel each day and where you will spend your nights along the way. So by making an ultimate goal and deciding on subgoals, you usually arrive at your intended objective.

The same holds true for Investment. When you decide ahead of time how much you want to raise for Investment, then you can decide how much you need to raise each month in order to reach your goal.

Of course, some projects receive their payoff at the end of the season -- such as garden produce. But even here certain subgoals are helpful -- plowing, planting, weeding, cultivating, harvesting.

Many techniques have been used to help the church reach a predetermined goal—in terms of the amount the church wishes to reach. Here are some of the ideas that have been shared with me and suggestions of others that may be of help:

  • Quilting Bee. A group decides to make a quilt and sell it for Investment. Set a date when you wish to finish the quilt and establish dates when certain parts should be completed.
  • Loose Change. Ask those who wish to do so to deposit into a receptacle at home all the loose change in their pockets or purses at the end of each day. (It might be wise for them to retain at least enough to make an emergency phone call.) Then on Sabbath they bring their change to church and deposit it in a large container -- perhaps a five-gallon water jar. Set a time when you want the jar to be full.
  • Garage Sale/Auction/Bazaar. Early in the year dedicate a garage or other storage place for the deposit of items people wish to give to the sale. Set a date when you want to have the space filled with whatnots for your sale.
  • Goal Device. Although many feel that goal devices are juvenile -- and many children’s departments use them to great effect -- many adult Sabbath Schools also find them useful to help members visualize their progress toward their objective.

Goal devices need to be creative, however, and new plans used each year. Try a rocket traveling to the moon, or a ship sailing to a mission field; put leaves on a tree, feathers on an owl, building blocks on a church, school, or other structure.

Goal devices need to have a set amount toward which the church works, and steps that will lead to that objective. Whatever plan your church chooses to follow, by all means decide on some idea that will spark the imaginations of your members to work for Investment. Although you may never attain your goal of 100-percent participation, be enthusiastic about those who do decide to become involved.

Thurman C. Petty, Jr.
© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists