Today I read a post by Shawn Lovejoy which is actually an excerpt from his book ‘The Measure of Our Success: An Impassioned Plea To Pastors”. I purchased his book on Kindle this morning and got about 20% through before my first meeting of the day. Shawn’s post ‘Who Are We Reaching’ hits on a theme from a conversation I brought up to a ministry friend just yesterday.
My friend is in a denominational role which requires him to interface with many churches. During the course of our conversation we got into a discussion about how resources are allocated, the role of overhead and determining effectiveness of ministries: established as well as church plants.
Like Shawn, I believe we measure the wrong things.
Attendance is an indicator but not a valid measurement of health. Healthy things grow but I am most concerned with HOW things grow before I determine whether or not they are ‘healthy’.
So what do I look for? Baptisms.
It’s weird but I’ve noticed that people like to keep their jobs even if it means justifying a lack of productivity. Most people do not want to admit when they are failing.
What DO you do if you’re failing?
a. Lie about your metrics.
b. Change the metrics.
c. Pretend metrics aren’t important.
d. Measure metrics that do not matter.
e. Admit it & fix it.
Instead of admitting that churches aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, we’ve developed entire systems around justifying everything and everyone but I honestly believe most of us are drastically missing the mark. Jesus told us to make disciples. To me it becomes a simple question: Are we?
In our denomination as in yours, we talk a lot about church ‘growth’. When we plant churches we’re looking to see quick success so we can feel good about the investment made. It is reasonable to quantify resources to effectiveness… I just believe we have our eyes focused on the wrong ball.
A Sunday morning attendance measurement doesn’t make sense to me.
If you and I go fishing together and you are catching fish but every once in a while I snag a fish from your holding tank and put them into mine am I an effective fisherman?
To be continued… check out Part 2