AN OPEN LETTER FROM THE GUIDING COALITION
Lt. Colonel Sharon Robertson
BY LT. COLONEL SHARON ROBERTSON –
Over the past six months the Guiding Coalition has been involved in what has proven to be the most challenging, most painful, process yet: the articulation of territorial goals proposed measures of progress toward achievement of the territorial vision. The coalition was faced with the task of developing and expressing measurable faith-based goals of the territory in a way that honestly reflects the heart, spirit and vision of the field and that will clearly indicate our progress toward achievement of the territorial vision.
Two apparently simple questions had to be answered: What, when measured, will provide reliable indicators of progress toward vision realization? And, how can these indicators be accurately measured?
To answer the first question, the Coalition again turned to the territorial vision itself, using the results of the territorial survey, the feedback from the “bluesheets”, the corps goals from the “Vision Action Planning Guide,” and the divisional commanders’ “growth projections” as resources. Using the territorial vision as a template, the Coalition sought to determine what would be the most important growth indicators in each of the four primary focuses of the vision:
- Biblically authentic in motive and mission
- A relevant and vibrant expression of Christianity
- Culturally diverse in methods and ministry
- Compassionately active in serving humanity
Feedback from both corps and divisional headquarters, as well as our own sense of a mandate to remain true to what had been said to the territory at the beginning of the visioning process about corps and programs setting their own “SMART” goals, made coalition members uneasy, reluctant to recommend what might (even though reflecting the limited input from corps on goals) appear to be territorially imposed numbers.
In an attempt to respond positively to the task of proposing appropriate territorial goals, using the information at hand, the coalition did prepare and submit a list of proposed territorial goals, but the sense of “rightness” that had accompanied the finalization of the territorial vision eluded us. The coalition was deeply concerned that the establishment of quantitative goals at this point, without adequate feedback from the field, seemed to be in a sense a betrayal of the message of empowerment, the challenge to “set your own goals”, that had been promoted throughout the territory.
The territorial commander agreed.
A question was posed: What if instead of the territory establishing the goals, we challenged the corps and programs to come up with solid faith-goals, numerically expressed, that would then become the basis for the territorial goals? It was agreed that we should consider this approach.
The territorial commander, noting that many of the suggested goals looked at programs and activities, questioned whether we were attempting to measure the right things: “Regardless of ‘activities,’ what are the main objectives the vision focuses on?” he asked. As a result of this discussion, it was decided that the coalition will meet again before the September TEC to prepare a revision or restatement of the proposed territorial goals that will emphasize the following critical growth-indicators:
- the numbers of officers, soldiers and junior soldiers the numbers of corps and community services units ministering to
- the communities of the Western Territory
- involvement in world services through commitment of people and resources to missions, both here and world-wide
Proposed goals, while stated in measurable terms, will at this time use few references to specific numbers or percentages of growth. Instead, the commands and corps will be challenged to respond to the territorial goals by establishing their own specific faith-based growth goals expressed in terms of numbers/percentages of projected increases. These numbers will “bubble-up” to become the basis for development of the quantified goals of the territory by which the officers, soldiers and friends of the Western Territory will be able to objectively evaluate the overall progress toward achievement of the territorial vision.