Are We There Yet? Milestones that Lead to the Preferred Future

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We’ve talked about the diagram to the left many times.  I want to revisit it today to point out one very important item.  Way too important to skip past; so much ministry gets missed because of this one profound but simple detail.

Wondering what it is?

On the diagram it is referred to as “12 Months Later.”  Seems like a little thing, but it’s so big.

I love the way Will Mancini describes the concept in Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture and Create Movement.  Referring to the vision as mountaintop (“We are a place where no one stands alone…where people are elbow-deep in each other’s lives.  May I ask you, Who is your 2:00 a.m. friend?”, p. 181), Mancini fleshes out milestones this way: “By this time next year, we will have 100 small groups, and 70 percent of them will have an apprentice.”

He goes on to make several important points:

  1. Mountaintop should always precede Milestones.  Spot on.  Building a pervasive small group ministry requires knowing where you are going (preferred future) and what it will feel like to go there (clarifying the win).  Only the dream of the mountaintop (vision) can give purpose to the quest, after all, “the quest for simple more of anything is inherently unsatisfying (p. 181).”
  2. One Milestone at a time.  “The principle that guides our development of Milestones is to have no more than one milestone at any given time (p. 182).”  While it may fly in the face of the notion of a balanced scorecard or other goal-setting concepts, it’s important to remember that the antidote for too many goals is “a single temporary and qualitative rallying cry shared by all members of the team (Patrick Lencioni, Silos, Politics and Turf War).”
  3. Identifying the most important need or opportunity at this time in your church will help determine the milestone.  It can be thought of as a seasonal emphasis.  Once the milestone is reached a new one can be selected and emphasized.

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