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:


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?


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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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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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: 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....

Recent Comments
What happens when u dont have a meeting place any more. And u was forced out because the buliding wasnt available any more.
— Debra
If someone wants entertainment they're going to the wrong place. Church is not a place for entertainment...or in my opinion a barrage of coffee and donuts. Why are churches today bringing the world INTO them? Then there's the thing with children...age appropriate??? These little guys can pick stuff up in service. Besides Jesus said Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Mt. 19:14.
— Laurie
I love the intentionality here as well as the challenge to look at the data. That's missing so many times. I would like to offer a contrarian's take. Church members and regular attenders have so many ways to get information: Announcements, bulletins, social channels, relationships, and email being among the options. But brand new people are likely going to check out the website and that's it. It might be wiser for churches with limited time and resources to focus their website almost exclusively to guests. This group of people isn't looking for a calendar of events but wants to know about regular programs. They probably aren't interested in watching all of the messages but instead may want to preview one of the services. For the times we need church members to go to websites (sign up for camp, join a group, etc), we're probably better off designing and promoting a specific page rather than cluttering up the homepage.
— Michael Lukaszewski (@mlukaszewski)

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