#10 in a series devoted to sending churches. The content of this post is adapted from BMW’s 6-hour apoLuo workshop. Numbered articles are intended to be read sequentially for maximum benefit.

Canadian hockey broadcaster Foster Hewitt became famous for shouting, “He shoots, he scores!” when a player did just that on Hockey Night in Canada, the program for which he provided the play-by-play commentary for forty years. Another Canadian hockey icon, Wayne Gretzky, said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” So true.

This post isn’t about scoring goals, though. It’s about setting them.

Goal setting is one of the premier skills missionaries must develop. We understand we are in God’s hands and He is sovereign—we don’t deny that or wish to minimize in any way the work of God in our lives. But goal setting is not a secular notion we yanked out of the corporate world and dressed up in Sunday clothes (whatever they are.)

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” ~ Wayne Gretzky

Paul always had a goal before him. He wrote to the Philippians,

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phi 3.13b, 14)

Planning a visit with the believers in Rome, he told them,

“But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a little while. At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints…When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you.” (Rom 15.23-25, 28)

James also wrote about setting goals, and admonished his readers not to be presumptuous or arrogant in formulating goals which were not God-honouring or assuming they could realize their goals in their own strength:

“Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (Jam 4.15)

Clearly, there is a place for goal setting in Scripture. Even Jesus, “…for the joy that was set before him endured the cross…” (from Heb 12.2) Many other biblical texts teach and demonstrate this important idea, and it might be valuable for you to explore that subject on your own.

You can help your missionaries with setting goals. If you haven’t mastered the process, find someone in your church who excels at it and have that person serve as a consultant to your missionaries as they establish both short- and long-term goals. If your missionaries are serving with BMW, their DEP Squad can be involved in the process directly through assisting with the Appointee Monthly Report (AMR). The PrayerForce can make goal-setting a matter of prayer right from the start. They can pray that the missionaries’ goals will be:

  1. Clearly and demonstrably in tune with the will and plan of God
  2. Achievable, but edging past human capabilities so God can show Himself strong and faithful
  3. Wise and well-conceived
  4. Relationship-centred
  5. Realized

At BMW, we encourage our missionaries to formulate S.M.A.R.T. goals—goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-sensitive. Let’s see how this formula might flesh out in the early days of deputation:

“Getting more meetings” is neither specific nor measurable. “Scheduling five coffee or lunch appointments with pastors in the Chicago area in the month of June” is specific. It is also measurable.

“Scheduling twenty new meetings this month” is specific and measurable—but if it were attainable we wouldn’t need this blog!

“Serve as a camp counselor for ten weeks this summer” is specific, measurable and attainable, but it may not be relevant because it may not support the purpose for the missionaries’ deputation ministry. (On the other hand, it may.)

“Present our ministry in thirty churches” is specific, measurable, attainable and relevant. But it needs a time limit. “Present our ministry in thirty churches before 1 September” fits the bill.


Missionaries serving under BMW will be required to establish a new set of goals each year that will constitute their ministry description for the next twelve months. This is usually submitted around the time of the annual field conference, and each missionary unit is evaluated by the respective Area Director with regard to what degree the previous year’s goals were realized, why this was or was not so, and the nature and appropriateness of the next year’s goals according to the S.M.A.R.T. template.

Deputation is as good a time as any to get used to the process, and it will serve your missionaries well as God brings in their financial support.

Rob Heijermans, Biblical Ministries Worldwide