Right now the time of year when campus ministries are gearing up for the start of a new school year. There is excitement in the air with the anticipation of returning student leaders and arrival of a freshman class. Before students arrive, one of the most important things ministry leaders can do is prayerfully set goals for the year.

Some look at goal setting as a “worldly” endeavor. I could not disagree more. Prayerful goal setting is a faith-building exercise that can help keep ministries and staff teams focused and in step with the Spirit.

Campus Renewal staff have to write a “strategic plan” for each new school year. It’s a simple document that declares their stated goals, tactics, roles, and timelines for each coming year. I recommend that every campus ministry leader do the same.


When setting goals for the year, it is best to do so in two ways. First, state the broadest goal.  This goal seems more spiritual because it contains the heart of what you hope to accomplish. For instance, one broad goal stated by our University of Tennessee campus was “to create a viable network for growing ministry leaders in relationship, prayer and mission.” This is a broad goal because it casts a clear vision for what they ultimately hope to accomplish, which could be measure in any number of ways.

Secondly, it is helpful to also create measurable goals from your broad goal.  Measurable goals help you determine if your goal was ultimately met.  For instance, the University of Tennessee added the measurable goals to their strategic plan.

  • 15 ministers a week at Fusion Group
  • 3-5 committed core leaders who share leading each week
  • 15 ministries represented at Christian Student Network
  •  3 student reps involved in Christian Student Network leadership


Tactics are the means by which you’ll attempt to accomplish your broad and measurable goal.  What are you going to do to try to accomplish your goal? For instance, one of our goals at the University of Texas is “to create greater awareness about the Campus House of Prayer (CHOP) and build stronger community in the CHOP.” Our measurable goal is to have 100 hours a week filled in the CHOP, 50 students attending CHOP community events, and to have 14 days of 24-hour prayer in October.

Our tactics (how we aim to accomplish our goals) are to do things like this: table on campus once a week, host one CHOP community night and one CHOP training night, one-on-one meetings with students and pastors to cast vision, making announcements at ministry meetings, open house party, All Campus Worship, new student follow-up, and create a CHOP promo video. These are the practical things we will try to do to accomplish our goals.

Roles and Time

With each tactic, there needs to be a person or persons assigned to leading it. Clarity of roles is vital to the accomplishment of goals. We’re all aiming for the goals, but specific people have certain roles with each specific tactic.

Additionally, each tactic needs a deadline. When will each tactic be enacted? Beside each tactic, you can assign a role and a timeframe.  For instance: “CHOP Open House (August 27th) – Justin and Kim.”


Finally, it is important to create an annual calendar with several different facets.

Semester Glance: You need a calendar of events. This is just a list of the big events throughout the year.

Monthly Glance: You need a calendar of monthly priorities. This is a list of which goals are which important for each specific month.  September’s focus is different than October’s. So decide which priorities are most important in each given month.

Weekly Glance: You also need to know what things must be done on a weekly basis. These are simple things like planning, communication, staff meetings, worship gatherings, small groups, and such. Know what things need to be accomplished weekly so that you can stay on track with monthly and semesterly goals.

All This Is Useless Unless

Finally, I have to say the process of creating a strategic plan is practically useless unless you look at it throughout the school year. I recommend that a ministry leader look at his or her strategic plan once a week. Use the plan to create your to-do list for the week. Use the plan to structure your staff meeting each week. The plan must be continually viewed and tweaked to keep you and your team on task with the faith-filled goals God has given you.

DSCN1263_2Justin Christopher is the National Campus Director for Campus Renewal Ministries and the author of Campus Renewal: A Practical Plan for Uniting Campus Ministries in Prayer and Mission. He facilitates CRM’s Partnering Campus Network and also gives leadership to the Campus House of Prayer and the missional community movement at the University of Texas.