Metrics For Minstry: How do we measure what we do?

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.

People Matter… So, We Count
Mark Waltz
Posted October 27, 01:37 PM

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?

I’m listening.

 

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Rich Kirkpatrick

Rich Kirkpatrick

Writer, Speaker, and Musician. Rich Kirkpatrick was recently rated #13 of the “Top 75 Religion Bloggers” by Newsmax.com, having also received recognition by Worship Leader Magazine as “Editor’s Choice” for the “Best of the Best” of blogs in 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

8 comments

  1. I know this is not exactly what you’re looking for as an answer, but I would suggest not being overly concerned with the hard numbers. Many years ago, the Lord showed me that there are different seasons in the spiritual life. Just as in the natural world where there is winter, spring, summer, and fall, so there are similar equivalents in the spiritual world. If you’re in a dormant or planting time, the hard numbers are not going to look impressive. But those times are essential because that’s when God is restoring the ground’s nutrients and seeding the fields for the seasons of growth. These times could last for months and years. You may go decades without seeing anything measurable in terms of hard measurements, then, seemingly overnight, everything starts to grow and the hard measurements jack through the roof!
    I’m not saying that you should never look at the hard measurements; just don’t overemphasize them. Fix your eyes on Jesus and these things should work themselves out.

    P.S. Just went back and read over your post and something occurred to me. You wrote, “Groups are a method, not the essence.” This is absolutely correct. So if you want a hard measurement of the essence, try to figure out how many people are getting together in meaningful ways OUTSIDE your groups and how often they are doing it. That’s a good measure of how real the relationships are.

  2. I know this is not exactly what you’re looking for as an answer, but I would suggest not being overly concerned with the hard numbers. Many years ago, the Lord showed me that there are different seasons in the spiritual life. Just as in the natural world where there is winter, spring, summer, and fall, so there are similar equivalents in the spiritual world. If you’re in a dormant or planting time, the hard numbers are not going to look impressive. But those times are essential because that’s when God is restoring the ground’s nutrients and seeding the fields for the seasons of growth. These times could last for months and years. You may go decades without seeing anything measurable in terms of hard measurements, then, seemingly overnight, everything starts to grow and the hard measurements jack through the roof!
    I’m not saying that you should never look at the hard measurements; just don’t overemphasize them. Fix your eyes on Jesus and these things should work themselves out.

    P.S. Just went back and read over your post and something occurred to me. You wrote, “Groups are a method, not the essence.” This is absolutely correct. So if you want a hard measurement of the essence, try to figure out how many people are getting together in meaningful ways OUTSIDE your groups and how often they are doing it. That’s a good measure of how real the relationships are.

  3. I know this is not exactly what you’re looking for as an answer, but I would suggest not being overly concerned with the hard numbers. Many years ago, the Lord showed me that there are different seasons in the spiritual life. Just as in the natural world where there is winter, spring, summer, and fall, so there are similar equivalents in the spiritual world. If you’re in a dormant or planting time, the hard numbers are not going to look impressive. But those times are essential because that’s when God is restoring the ground’s nutrients and seeding the fields for the seasons of growth. These times could last for months and years. You may go decades without seeing anything measurable in terms of hard measurements, then, seemingly overnight, everything starts to grow and the hard measurements jack through the roof!
    I’m not saying that you should never look at the hard measurements; just don’t overemphasize them. Fix your eyes on Jesus and these things should work themselves out.

    P.S. Just went back and read over your post and something occurred to me. You wrote, “Groups are a method, not the essence.” This is absolutely correct. So if you want a hard measurement of the essence, try to figure out how many people are getting together in meaningful ways OUTSIDE your groups and how often they are doing it. That’s a good measure of how real the relationships are.

  4. I know this is not exactly what you’re looking for as an answer, but I would suggest not being overly concerned with the hard numbers. Many years ago, the Lord showed me that there are different seasons in the spiritual life. Just as in the natural world where there is winter, spring, summer, and fall, so there are similar equivalents in the spiritual world. If you’re in a dormant or planting time, the hard numbers are not going to look impressive. But those times are essential because that’s when God is restoring the ground’s nutrients and seeding the fields for the seasons of growth. These times could last for months and years. You may go decades without seeing anything measurable in terms of hard measurements, then, seemingly overnight, everything starts to grow and the hard measurements jack through the roof!
    I’m not saying that you should never look at the hard measurements; just don’t overemphasize them. Fix your eyes on Jesus and these things should work themselves out.

    P.S. Just went back and read over your post and something occurred to me. You wrote, “Groups are a method, not the essence.” This is absolutely correct. So if you want a hard measurement of the essence, try to figure out how many people are getting together in meaningful ways OUTSIDE your groups and how often they are doing it. That’s a good measure of how real the relationships are.

  5. A clarification: Mark Waltz of Granger Community Church wrote the article quoted above.
    Excellent wisdom. We indeed leave the results to God and indeed there are seasons of planting, harvesting and so forth. When we look at Acts, we see the addition of people and growth of the Word. Tracking these things is important from the biblical example.

    One thing I heard today in a discussion was this question: How many new people have been to your small group this past year? This can be an indication of being ingrown verses other centered.

  6. A clarification: Mark Waltz of Granger Community Church wrote the article quoted above.
    Excellent wisdom. We indeed leave the results to God and indeed there are seasons of planting, harvesting and so forth. When we look at Acts, we see the addition of people and growth of the Word. Tracking these things is important from the biblical example.

    One thing I heard today in a discussion was this question: How many new people have been to your small group this past year? This can be an indication of being ingrown verses other centered.

  7. A clarification: Mark Waltz of Granger Community Church wrote the article quoted above.
    Excellent wisdom. We indeed leave the results to God and indeed there are seasons of planting, harvesting and so forth. When we look at Acts, we see the addition of people and growth of the Word. Tracking these things is important from the biblical example.

    One thing I heard today in a discussion was this question: How many new people have been to your small group this past year? This can be an indication of being ingrown verses other centered.

  8. A clarification: Mark Waltz of Granger Community Church wrote the article quoted above.
    Excellent wisdom. We indeed leave the results to God and indeed there are seasons of planting, harvesting and so forth. When we look at Acts, we see the addition of people and growth of the Word. Tracking these things is important from the biblical example.

    One thing I heard today in a discussion was this question: How many new people have been to your small group this past year? This can be an indication of being ingrown verses other centered.

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