Working with Refugees, Stage 2 Continued: Set Goals and Objectives for Your Ministry

Goals and objectives written on colored sticky notes on cork board background

If you are organizing a faith-based ministry to help refugees, then you have written your mission statement following God’s leadership. Now depend on Him to help you identify the goals and objectives for this ministry. Ask God to clarify the objectives needed to reach these goals of helping refugees.

Goals and Objectives

Goals and objectives are statements of what must be accomplished for the organization to accomplish its mission. Goal setting comes before determining what must be done to achieve the mission statement. Objectives are specific actions and a timeline for achieving specific goals. They help guide and measure your progress toward your goals. After setting goals and objectives, decide on action plans with specific steps to reach specific goals and objectives. Without goals and objectives, no steering wheel exists to guide the ministry toward its vision and to accomplish its mission statement. The driver is in the car with a place to go but has no way to guide the car.

Goals are general statements of what you want the organization to accomplish. They tend to be long term. Objectives are specific steps to take to move the refugee ministry toward its long-term goals. Your organization fulfills its goals as it accomplishes its objectives. Possible goals for your refugee ministry are noted below in bold, and related objectives are identified with numbers.

The refugee ministry will establish relationships with key leaders in the refugee community.

  1. Determine who is a pastor to the refugees.
  2. Discover who is the trusted adviser in the refugee community.

The refugee ministry will teach English as a second language (ESL).

  1. Obtain a Bible-based English language curriculum.
  2. Seek a venue at which to teach ESL.
  3. Teach 40 people English in the first year.

The refugee ministry will distribute food or blankets to the refugee community.

  1. Locate a grant funder for food or blankets.
  2. Find a vendor who will sell the food or blankets at a discount.
  3. Decide which refugees need food or blankets.
  4. Write a project proposal to a nonprofit organization or nongovernmental organization to provide funds for food or blankets.

Organizational leaders revisit the goals and objectives each year to determine what the organization accomplished, what was unfruitful, and what they should do next.


Through continuous prayer, God guides the ministry on what changes should occur, what additions should be made, and what people should be included. He may desire to expand the ministry into another community or city. Perhaps God wants to change the focus from English acquisition to emergency and material relief. Issues and needs change, and any faith-based organization that seeks to help the community must position itself to change or else become irrelevant. Prayer guides us to determine the direction of an organization and to keep each person focused on God. Without this, the ministry becomes stale and risks losing its overarching goal of being a light for the gospel in that community.


The fun part of refugee ministry is witnessing joy in a person’s eyes when he or she receives help. Not every aspect of ministry is fun. Some aspects are hard but very necessary. Establishing a faith-based ministry requires activities other than giving tangible help. It involves writing a mission statement and setting measurable goals and objectives. Each of these comes because of God’s vision to you and others to work for the good of refugees.

The people and their needs must be brought before the Lord. Each ministry possibility, ministry partner, and volunteer should be prayed over. The mission statement, goals, and objectives are all focused on providing for the needs of the people to whom God calls you and for whom He gives you a vision. Without actual needs defined, ministry is not focused. This makes the ministry irrelevant. We must seek God’s will in each facet of it. This ensures its relevance and greatest benefit.

Consider what Psalm 127:1 says: “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” Jesus taught in Matthew 7:24–25, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.” Two principles arise from these 2 passages:

  1. Make certain what you build is built because God told you to build it.
  2. Ensure every part of the refugee ministry is what God wills and is founded on Him.

Both require constant and repeated prayer.

Adapted from “Inception: Working with Refugees, Stage Two: Founding a Faith-Based Ministry to Refugees” by Gail Davis with permission 

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