What do we measure that really matters? Having previously discussed changing the scorecard in churches has created a desire to put together an evaluation system that gives us biblically healthy metrics to gauge ministry. The church health and church growth tension will continue (I personally think it can be a good tension) but there are some biblical standards that must adopted and followed. For example, we can ask if people love the church or do they love lost people but it really begins with do we love Jesus! That was the bottom-line question He asked Peter.
There are many things very important to us that can cause us to place too much focus on the wrong things. Several of those are the size of the congregation, the buildings, the programs, and a host of other significant things but are not the most important. We know the church is not a building nor is it just a numerical statistic. It is to be the local body that represents Christ and displays His glory. The pendulum of what’s of the greatest value can swing too far either way when it comes to methods and measurements.
- Is your church cultivating a heart for God? Does your church really care about the lost and dying world around it? Here is the reality we must face. We say it is important, but is there any proof in our actions that shows up not only in our beliefs but also in our behavior? In what ways does your church’s heart break over what breaks the heart of God? We say we are burdened for people who are far from God but what is your church doing to reach them? Are people who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ benefiting from knowing your members?
- Is your church developing a disciple making culture? Are more and more disciples growing and being transformed daily? We talk discipleship but very little actual discipleship is taking place unless we intentionally develop a pathway for disciples to grow. That begins by equipping and training disciples not only to follow Christ but to also disciple others. As you look at discipleship it would be good to ask what is working, what is missing, and what is confusing? There must be a clear “next steps” pathway that can be clearly articulated by all of your disciples.
- Develop a prayer strategy. This is not necessarily to be third on your list but must permeate every area of your church culture. It is not enough to just say we need more prayer (we certainly do) but to also train and show people what being a prayer warrior looks like. How can you help to deepen the prayer lives of your leaders? Let them know that our purpose in observing spiritual disciplines is not to demonstrate our spiritual strength and superiority but rather to demonstrate our weakness and our need for Christ.
- Commit to multiplication in every area of your ministry. We state our mission statement as a discipleship based multiplication of disciples, leaders, and churches. That means that everything needs to multiply and if it is healthy it does. All too often we place all the emphasis on more people and getting bigger but that does not ensure spiritual success. Are we multiplying prayer warriors, Bible readers, worshipers, disciple making disciples, small groups, serving team members, and people who are consistently sharing their faith?
- Build a spiritual awareness and discernment of the spiritual battle you are in. You will face obstacles and you will face opposition. Here are some excellent questions from my good friend, Dave DeVries, in this area. What spiritual blockages are you currently facing? What strategies will you have in place to counter spiritual blockages? You must expect them to happen and be ready to address them when they do. You must remain spiritually sensitive to the attacks of the enemy and this is why training and resourcing a team of prayer warriors is so vitally important.
- Find a way to measure and track how many more people are actually doing more of the right things such as praying more, reading their Bibles more, discipling other disciples more, and sharing their faith more. The best way to do that is through intentional accountability. The missing ingredient in so much of our discipleship is the obedience mechanism. Develop groups of 3-4 who meet not only to disciple but to also hold one another accountable by asking good questions such as, with whom did you share your faith this last week? How did that go?
- Teach your people to focus on two very important ingredients of spiritual growth. The first is listening to the word of God. That means listening with an interest because we have a heart’s desire to hear what God is saying. The second is that we must then obey what He says. We really aren’t interested if we are not ready to obey what He says. Teach your people when they approach the word of God to ask what is God saying and what does He want me to do about it? Jesus made it clear, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
Take each one of these seven areas and evaluate where you are and how you are doing in each one of them. What is working, what is missing, and what is confusing? How can you help your people to do more of what is really important? What strategies will you develop to make sure it happens in the hearts and lives of your people? The true metrics are not size but the transformation of people’s lives and seeing evidence that they are being transformed and becoming more and more like Jesus!
MEASURE WHAT MATTERS!!!