I have learned that in ministry and in life it is very important to have a target that you are aiming at. I have a hard time just floating along in life. I am the type of person who really enjoys accomplishing things. If you have read Marcus Buckingham's book Now, Discover Your Strengths you will understand what I mean when I say that I am an "Activator". I don't really enjoy sitting in long meaningless meetings that I feel are wasting valuable time. I am really the kind of guy who sees what needs to be done and decides to go do it. Sometimes however, this has gotten me in to a little bit of trouble.
You see, you have to have a target (a goal). If you don't know where you are supposed to end up, how will you know when you have arrived there? Ministry and life are both this way. I can have a great event from an "outsiders" perspective, but how do I know if has truly been a great event if I don't know what that event was supposed to accomplish?
Let me give an example: Each year, like most churches in America, we do a Fall Festival. There are many different names and ways of doing this event, but for the most part, they are all held in the Fall and involve both candy and games. Our's is usually held the Sunday before halloween (mainly because there is a major mark up on the inflatable equipment we rent if we use it on halloween). When I first came to Hope, I had to make the decision on the validity and necessity of doing the Fall Festival. I wanted to make sure that I was not just adding an event because "this is what we have always done" (I value tradition, but I don't see the validity of spending an enormous amount of money on something just because we have always done it and little timmy will be very upset if he doesn't get his free candy from the church this year).
We decided that our Fall Festival would be an outreach event to the community where we did not "shove" the gospel at them as much as we provided them a "safe and relaxed" opportunity to come on our campus and experience the LOVE of God. We also wanted our children's ministry and church to have the opportunity to SERVE the community around us.
This is our target, without having a clear target, we would just be throwing a big party every year with no real purpose. Parties are great, but I don't think they are a great way to spend the "kingdom resources" of both time and money!
Always have a target that you are aiming at, because when you don't, you will never truly know what you have accomplished.