I read Mark Waltz’s blog often. After attending a workshop at Granger Church where he is a pastor, I am glad to find his blog. I love the quote, "we count people because people count." I am not sure who made that quote first, but it goes right along with, "people matter to God" This is why we do what we do as leaders in churches. People are the ones we evangelize, equip, and lead. Here is a posting from Mark’s blog. Please read and help us come up with metrics that make sense. What we measure is very important.
It’s not profoundly new or newly profound. It’s not profound. It’s not new. For critics of the mega-church or the seeker-sensitive church (again, I prefer "Jesus-focused and people-sensitive"), the issue of counting seems to be profoundly old and irrelevant, but that’s another post.
Rather, I bring it up again because I’m wrestling with what I’ve allowed to transpire over the past year or so as I’ve led our teams to help connect our members and attendees in group and ministry team relationships. But before I get there, I offer the reminder that there are two categories of measurement for what any organization tracks when evaluating success (success is always about accomplishing stated goals, objectives, mission – and every church should have those):
- Hard measurements – visible, identifiable, trackable numbers and percentages
- Soft-side measurements – feedback, stories that reveal perception, and in the case of the local church, life change
Here’s the wrestling match for me. I swung the measurement pendulum so far to the soft-side to validate the power of story among relationships that no one on my team (including me) expected the hard measurements to be inspected. Remember: what’s expected gets inspected.
So, I’m revisiting both sets of measurement tools: hard and soft. They both matter. Numbers are people – always people. And people matter. They matter to God and they matter to us. Period. A great story from a person is just that – it’s great! But, when charged with the responsibility to create environments for people to connect to each other and Christ, who and how many of our people are stepping toward Christ in those environments will determine whether or not we even hear stories of life change.
Part of the challenge for us at Granger is that we teach and encourage relationships – not merely groups. We have groups, we create groups, we have a group ministry; but we strive to practice authentic, caring, Christ-honoring relationships. Groups are a method, not the essence. This means that establishing a target is challenging. What number in group relationships is "success" or sufficient?
So, I’m curious. Since people matter – what are you measuring in your group environments? What are the gages you’re putting in the pipeline to read outcomes? How are you filtering and communicating stories of life change from those relationships?