One of the lessons I’m trying to teach my kids is that things that seem to matter so much now probably won’t mean as much later. Whether it’s an event they want to attend, an app they want to download, or a show they want to watch, it can seem like a really big deal now, but a week from now…two weeks from now…a year from now…we won’t even remember.
A lot of things I really cared about a few years ago are completely off my radar today.
Church can be like that as well.
Maybe there’s a ministry or a program or a topic that was a really big deal a few years back, but now time has moved forward and things have changed. It would be easier to keep going – to keep coasting.
Just because it mattered then doesn’t mean it matters now.
Just because it worked at one time doesn’t mean it’s working well now.
The mission of the church should compel us to take an honest look at all we’re doing. If we want to be good stewards of our leadership and influence, we have to critically evaluate everything and make sure we’re being effective.
Whether it’s a golf swing or a church service, more activity doesn’t make you better. You don’t get better by doing the same thing over and over. Actually, that’s how you get into a rut.
If you want to improve – if you want to be more effective, you have to honestly evaluate. Some churches are afraid to evaluate because they don’t want to make it all about the numbers, but it could also be they are afraid what they will find.
Todd Mullins says, “If we don’t have measurement tools in place, unhealthy areas could go unnoticed for years.”
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Three Things You Need to Measure
Most churches measure attendance and giving. That’s a great place to start, but there are other numbers that tell more of the story. Here are three other things you should measure on a regular basis.
#1 – Guest Connection Rate
Are first-time guests sticking around or getting connected? What’s the ratio between first-time guests who visit and those who are still connected six months later? Taking a look at this number gives you an honest look at your assimilation or connection process. Growing churches don’t just attract unchurched guests…they help them connect to the life of the church and ultimately help them follow Jesus.
#2 – First Time Givers
How well are you reaching brand new donors? People who give for the first time is a great look into how well discipleship, vision-casting, and ministry is really happening in your church. If the same few people are financially supporting the whole church, it can be a dangerous thing a few years from now. Healthy churches encourage people to start following Jesus with their whole lives, including their financial lives.
#3 – Percentage of Adults and Students Serving
How many adults and students are serving in your church? Are people attending but not getting in the game? The number of people serving on a regular basis is a great measurement of church growth and health. It’s a number you should track on a regular basis. Tony Morgan has a helpful chart of what’s normal.
When it comes to evaluation and measurement, the key word is effectiveness. Don’t look at ministries and ask if they are “good”. You need to look at effectiveness.
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A lot of churches spend a lot of money leading programs and ministries that used to work. They mattered back then, but they don’t matter as much now.
So What's Next?
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