Resolutions. Many of us make them at the first of the year. According to a poll by the Neilson group, here are the top resolutions we tend to make:
- Stay fit and healthy (37%)
- Lose weight (32%)
- Enjoy life (28%)
- Spend less, save more (25%)
- Spend more time with family and friends (19%)
These aren’t bad resolutions. I imagine many of us will once again make a few of these as we turn the corner into 2018. But what about your Bible study group? If you had to make some New Year’s resolutions, what would you choose to do? On what would you focus your attention?
Whatever you choose to lead your group to do, make sure you’re making SMART decisions. This is an acrostic which can serve as a guide for making resolutions that are:
Specific – the goal needs to count
Measurable – you need to know if you’re winning or not
Attainable – are your goals reasonable?
Results-focused – measure outcomes, not activity
Time-sensitive – setting target dates creates a sense of urgency
With all this in mind, then, let’s think through some goals that would benefit a Bible study group. We’ll measure the goals against this SMART framework.
Resolution 1: Reach four new people for Bible study by the end of the first quarter. Is this specific? Yes. Measurable? Yes. Attainable? Hopefully reaching four new people for Bible study is a reasonable goal! Results-focused? Yes. Time-sensitive? Yes…we’ll do this by the end of the first 90 days of the new year.
Resolution 2: Engage the group in a service project. Is this specific? Yes. Measurable? Yes. Attainable? Yes. Results-focused? Yes. Time-sensitive? No! So we should add the phrase, “in March 2018” or some other goal that creates a sense of urgency.
Resolution 3: Launch a new group by summer. Specific? Yes. Measurable? Yes. Attainable? Should be. Results-focused? Yes…we are starting another group. Time-sensitive? Yes…we have 6 months to recruit a new group leader, encourage people to attend the new group, and promote the launch to the group and all of its absentee members.
You’ll know best what goals and resolutions to make on behalf of your group. Do it together and come to a consensus about what things you are going to resolve to do in the new year.
Here are a few other resolutions you may want to consider as you think through your options:
- Establishing a regular fellowship each month.
- Ongoing ministry in the community, such as at a crisis pregnancy center, clothes closet, food pantry, etc.
- Contacting every person on your group’s ministry list, inviting them to future Bible studies, and checking in on absentees you haven’t seen in a while.
- Sharing the gospel with a specific number of people each quarter, month, or week.
- Involving a percent of your group members in ministry to the preschoolers, children, and students in your church.
Let your imagination loose. Get input. Make SMART resolutions this year for you and your small group—you’ll be glad you did.
Ken manages Lifeway’s adult ongoing Bible studies and blogs daily about groups at kenbraddy.com