Measuring the Process Determines True Movement

Preseason NFL games are boring to watch, even for serious fans. Seriously, Sportscenter on ESPN barely mentions preseason games. The anchors even poke fun at how little the games matter. The best players are not in the game at critical times.

It is basically a practice with real referees. It just seems that no one really cares who wins or loses.

No one cares because the games are not measured.

They do not count. And because the games are not counted in the season’s overall record, the games are not taken seriously.

You get the point. For people to take your ministry process seriously, it has to be measured. For people to internalize the simple how in your church, you have to evaluate it. The cliché is true: what gets evaluated, gets done.

Churches that measure their process prove its value. Measurement proves the process is more than a new fad or down-loadable strategy. Staff, volunteers, and members see the importance.

Measurement also helps leaders know if people are progressing through the process. Measurement tools should focus on moving people from one level of commitment to another. Holes are easily identified and remedied. If the church increases in attendance at their “love God” level, they expect to increase proportionally at their “love others” and “serve the world” levels.

Are you ready to measure? To measure your process effectively, you must think differently in two critical ways:

LEARN TO VIEW YOUR NUMBERS HORIZONTALLY AND NOT VERTICALLY.

Measuring your process requires you to view your attendance differently from most churches. Most church leaders would look at the total number of people in a particular program, such as the total number of adults in small groups. That is looking vertically. It is looking at programs to see if they are successful.

Viewing your numbers horizontally is different. Someone who views numbers horizontally would see that a certain percentage of adults moved from a worship service to small groups and then to ministry teams. The horizontal viewer would think of ways to move more people across a chart. Sideways. Horizontally. Got it?

MEASURE ATTENDANCE AT EACH LEVEL/STAGE IN YOUR PROCESS.

To evaluate your entire process, you must know how many people are plugged in at each level. Most churches tend to measure only worship attendance and small-group attendance. That makes sense if those are the only two programs in the process. However, it does not make sense if there are additional programs.

For example, some churches want to move people from worship service to small groups to ministry teams. For them to measure effectively, they have to know how many people are in ministry teams. If they did not know that, it would be impossible to see a clear picture of reality.

To get an accurate picture, you must measure attendance at each level. It gives you key knowledge for planning and praying. Without this knowledge, you are bound to make decisions based on incomplete information.

Adapted from Simple Church (B&H Publishing Group, 2006)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eric Geiger

Eric Geiger serves as the Vice President of the Church Resource Division at LifeWay Christian Resources. Eric received his doctorate in leadership and church ministry from Southern Seminary. He is also a teaching pastor and a frequent speaker and consultant on church mission and strategy. Eric authored or co-authored several books including the best selling church leadership book, Simple Church. Eric is married to Kaye, and they have two daughters: Eden and Evie. During his free time, Eric enjoys dating his wife, playing with his daughters, and shooting basketball.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

VRcurator — 08/15/14 10:35 am

That's a great question, David! At Auxano, we use a tool called the Vision Frame, and one side of that tool is Measures. We refer to Measures as "a set of attributes in an individual's life that define or reflect the accomplishment of a church's mission." In other words, a portrait of a disciple and definition of spiritual maturity. I'm sending you some additional materials. Also, take a look at another article on the Vision Room: http://visionroom.com/beyond-one-dimensional-scorecard-count-vertically-measure-horizontally/. Thanks for the comment!

David Bartosik — 08/15/14 10:14 am

It would seem attendance is a way to measure, but Id love to hear other effective measuring tools of church discipleship and spiritual development. Heathly things grow- numerically and....

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I just discovered this today and am looking forward to exploring the content on here. It looks like it could be very helpful. Just an FYI - in your paragraph on not putting out B+ material you have a typo. A little ironic. :-) The third sentence begins with "You time" not "Your time."
 
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I'm lost, to say the least! As a new pastor, taking over a newly started church I have read just about everything there is to learn what I can do to grow the church. I truly beleive that those attending our church are friendly and sincere. So that can't be the issue. I have read all the comments to this article and I feel that most churches will never have a fair chance! We are a VERY small church, so we don't have a children's church (yet). So if a family comes and gets upset that we don't have a children's church for them to put their children into, we lose! We do provide things for their kids to do during the service and even have an option for their kids to be in a different room, if they don't want their kids to sit with them. We are also such a small church that we don't have a worship team/band/etc. Our worship music comes from music videos. The congregation we do have likes it this way, but of course we would love to have a worhsip team. So, if someone comes to our church and is upset that we don't have live music, we lose! The point I am trying to make is that when people come in with preconceived ideas of what a church should be like, they will never find a church home, unless they find a church who's goal is to entertain! Every Sunday our message comes from the Bible, so that can't be a complaint for someone, so instead, people leave the church and never come back because they want more from a church: they don't want friendly people who are following the Word of God; they want a church that give them something (a babysitter for their kid, entertainment, free gifts, etc.) I'm sorry if sound cynical, I truly want everyone to hear the Good News and learn about Christ's love, but if they come in looking for something else, then the church will always lose!
 
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