Often we create ambiguous and immeasurable goals for our churches. These obtuse goals make it hard to know how well we are growing and achieving our specific goals. We have these huge lofty goals that require a subjective evaluation and don't assure us that we are moving in a forward direction, or any direction at all sometimes. My church has about 8 of these goals. From growing spiritually, to more children, to ministry with a more diverse population. Those are good aims, but way too hard to evaluate. So, our church council is now working through them to try and come up with some concrete, measurable goals.
Here’s the basic framework we are using to go from the broad to something more focused.
Goal: To grow spiritually in Jesus Christ
1) What does it mean to grow spiritually? (Get your committee/team/council to think about how exactly they define spiritual growth. Ask for specifics, how have they grown spiritually in their own lives? When they talk about growing spiritually, what does that mean to them?)
2) What are the signs we look for? (Once you’ve named what it means to grow spiritually, how do you identify that growth? What does it look like? What do we point to specifically to know that spiritual growth is occurring in someone’s life?)
3) How do we produce those signs? (What circumstances, situations, experiences, and lessons prompt or provoke those signs? Again, asking people for specific/personal examples can get you closer to the point. If Bill’s sign of spiritual growth was praying more regularly, what got him to that point? What made him pray more? What was the situation/event that drew him into a more active prayer life?)
4) What are some of the concrete things we can do or offer as a church to produce those signs? (Once you’ve identified the type of event that promotes the signs you are looking for to achieve your overarching goal, then you can think about how the church can offer those types of activities. Be reasonable, aim for what is achievable for your church. Be willing to risk, having something new and different happen in our churches won’t happen if we persist in what we’ve always done, it will require a risk and possible sacrifices.)