This was my first year to go to Orange Conference without my team. It was a great time for me to have space-get my bucket filled-and have room to think and dream. I have been in my current role of CT Kids Global for 18 months. We have seen lots of transition and realignment as well as sharper focus on our mission and vision. I had a FANTASTIC time at Orange this year…but I sure did miss my team!!!!!

I have so many favorite parts to Conference-the main sessions, meeting up with friends, engaging with leaders from around the country and of course the breakouts! Over the years, I have learned ways to make the most of my time at conference. I make sure to connect with leaders that I would like to meet with prior to the first day. My calendar for conference looks very much like a work week calendar. I schedule breakfasts and lunches with leaders, I add my break out sessions and main sessions. I also schedule a bit of time out each day just to collect my thoughts and have space to download the information that flooded my brain for the day.

But the one thing that I do before I even purchase my ticket is decide why I am going. Conference is a huge investment in time and money and I want to be sure I am being the best steward I can be. This year, I decided conference would be about answering the following questions:

How is my ministry winning? More specifically, how do I define a win?

Rebekah Bullard lead a breakout on defining the win for elementary ministry. Rebekah leads at Cross Point church at the Nashville campus. Rebekah served on my team at Cross Timbers leading our Elementary ministry.

As she worked through her message, I really wrestled with the thought of how I define wins, how my team defines wins, and more importantly-how do my volunteers define wins.  Two key points made were:

  1. A win must be meaningful. As she shared this point, I was thinking…of course the win needs to be meaningful—that is simple. But digging deeper, I realized the win needs to meaningful to everyone, and not just me. A meaningful win leads to deeper understanding and having better grasp on vision and mission. Wins vary in size and impact but they must matter to everyone. Insuring that wins are meaningful keeps an organization pulling in the same direction. Another key point was for me to be mindful of asking for input from others about how truly meaningful a win is. I can’t be the only voice declaring what meaningful looks like-I need to seek out input from others and encourage staff/volunteers to all add input to the discussion.
  2. A win must be measurable. How can we tell if we win…easy, right? We keep score. We measure our progress to see if what we think we are winning at is truly a win. But before we measure, we have to establish a baseline. We have to know where the chains begin to see if we have actually moved the chains. And we just can’t “feel” like we won-maybe sometimes anecdotal testimonies can be a measure. More often than not, wins are black and white…did we reach the mark …can we measure it.

The big take away I had from the break out was the importance of clarifying the win.  I have lots of lists to work through, goals to accomplish, we have evaluation tools, and we run through measuring metrics all the time.  But I realized the importance of making wins meaningful and measurable through this breakout.  I have used these two thoughts as I have evaluated strategy and procedures after returning from conference.  These two simple steps have made a big impact on what I can do to help my ministry grow and reach more kids and families.

What about you? How do you create meaningful goals? How do you measure your wins? Comment below and share your thoughts! I would love to learn from you!