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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In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
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"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
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Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
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