Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Measuring Success - Is it time to change the scorecard?

There is a basic premise at work in our American society that is worth considering when it comes even to our expression of the church. The principle is, what gets measured, gets done! We love keeping count of things. We feel it is important to track progress and performance. We follow the stats of athletes. We receive paychecks and job evaluations in the workplace. And, as other teachers could also attest, one of the favorite questions of students in our public schools is, "Is this for a grade?" We simply want to know what will be used to measure our success.

In the Western church, we have adopted this attitude fully. It becomes a matter of emphasis to measure attendance at worship services, meetings, and Sunday School classes. I have sat in my share of board meetings that almost exclusively look at budget details. Pastors are often judged by their denominational authorities using numbers - how many people professed faith, how many people were baptized, how many people attended Sunday morning services, how many programs were started, how many classes were held, how much money was raised, how many buildings were constructed, how much staff was hired, how many kids went to youth camp, how many children came to VBS, and on and on.  If we are not careful, we can easily get caught up in a numbers game that has little to do with the Kingdom of God.
Because this premise - what gets measured is what gets done - is at work, we must be careful and intentional about the metrics we are using. In the words of Reggie McNeal, we need to change the scorecard. The table below identifies some distinct ways we might measure success differently in the simple church. These new metrics end up becoming the practical expression of all the philosophies and principles that I often bring up. In other words, this is where the "rubber meets the road" so to speak. If you don't change how and what you measure, then all your theory about what should be church will remain only theory and be left expressionless and without any fruit to show.


Keep in mind the motive behind this blog is to create a church that is much greater for our children. Changing how and what we define and measure as success here and now will impact the next generation’s practice of Christianity.

Conventional model
Simple/organic approach
Seating Capacity
Sending Capacity
Money In (Funds Raised)
Money Out (Radical Generosity)
Building Churches
Making Disciples
Professions of Faith (Altar Calls, Invitations)
Publicizing What We Are Against
Promoting What We Are For
Ministry Done FOR Jesus
Ministry Done BY Jesus


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