In new church development, as well as church revitalization, we put people in place to make new disciples of Jesus for the transformation of the world. we develop a plan for accomplishing the task. We set benchmarks that will measure how these church leaders, lay and clergy alike, are doing meeting those benchmarks. Then, sadly enough, we turn the leaders loose in their particular setting and rarely, if ever, check back to measure their progress. This is unacceptable. There is no accountability.
As a consultant with local churches I have heard a lot about intentions, hopes, and dreams for leaders in unique ministry settings. These are not particularly helpful because these are not benchmarks. We cannot evaluate effectiveness from intentions, hopes and dreams.
We are, however, able to evaluate effectiveness using the SAM method. Goal setting and benchmarks are specific, attainable, and measurable. Benchmarks should be reworked every 3-4 months. Benchmarks should be adjusted. The plan should be refined as time goes on and the greater the specificity/clarity the easier it becomes to evaluate success and disappointment.
Intentions, hopes and dreams are too ethereal to give us accurate measures of how we are doing. Try the SAM method and let me know if accountability improves in your setting of ministry.