I read a goal statement for a youth program recently. In sum, the statement read:

The goal for the Youth Program is to reach the youth in our congregation and encourage them to bring a friend to each gathering.

The question I pondered on was what does it mean to “reach the youth”? An email blast inviting all the high school kids to a Bible study could constitute “reaching” them. Too often goals such as this leads to serious ambiguity.

Ambiguity like defining “reach.” The youth director could sent out an email or text blast twice a year that invited the youth to attend the semi-annual pizza party and to invite their friends – and then argue they accomplished that goal. I suppose that some pastor somewhere might think that was enough, but I hope you’re not that church leader. I hope you have higher expectations than that. But you’ve got to admit, that an email blast does meet the goal’s criteria.

The lack of crystal clear expectations is one of the primary reasons very little gets accomplished in so many churches. Fluffy goals are set, mediocrity is accepted, and “trying hard” is rewarded.

So, how might this youth “vision” be tightened up so there were clear expectations? Perhaps something like:

The Youth Program will create an environment where teens have the tools and the desire to become dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ who are willing and able to share that desire with their friends.

There are still a number of variables for the youth workers to deal with, but any tool they choose to teach still has to create dedicated disciples. In other words, the results are about as crystal clear as you can get – depending, of course, on the church’s definition of a dedicated disciple.

When a church leader operates with clear goals, there will be clear results (or it will be time for a new leader!).