Setting goals in a church has, historically been for me, about setting goals that are reachable so that the church can celebrate "what we accomplished together". Churches don't do well with bad news and not meeting a goal is generally seen as bad news. It is as if we are unable to hurdle every goal then we lose.
The metaphor that I think about is that of a hurdler. When a hurdler does not leap over the hurdle then finishing the race is in real jeopardy. See video to the right for a fun nine seconds as an example.
I want to encourage our churches to view goal setting not as a hurdle that is to be jumped over in order to win the race, but more like pole vaulting.
Pole vaulting requires that the bar be placed too high for anyone to jump over without assistance. Additionally, in pole vaulting if the vaulter comes up short there and does not make it over the bar, then they do not loose, they only register the highest vault. Knowing they will be higher then they would ever by on their own, vaulters also prepare a place for landing BEFORE they vault. They know, even if they vault over the bar, they will come back down and they ensure the fall will not injure them for the next vault. Pole Vaulters know that they will only become better if they raise the bar higher and higher.
Arguably the best vaulter of all time, Sergey Bubka, only was able to achieve the 6.4 meter (over 20 feet) world record by elevating the bar time and time again.
Personally I am tired of hurdling and am looking forward to vaulting. If the church is going to do anything in the next generations it has to trade in low achievable goals for goals that we may not be able to reach but will continue to try.