There has been a lot of healthy conversation around the ‘scorecard’ of the church recently. We mostly agree that measuring attendance and offerings is an incomplete scorecard at best. But why would you even want to create ministry reports that measure other things?
Nobody becomes a church planter so that they can read or create ministry reports. But there are 3 compelling reasons why you should:
1. Decide What’s Important
First off, you should journey down this road because it forces your leadership to have the conversation about what’s really important. If you’re going to take the time & effort to measure something, you’d better be sure it’s the right thing and that it’s worth the trade off.
And it often forces you to look at your values & measures in new ways: at the end of the day you’ll have to measure something that you can count, and many things about church and spiritual growth are notoriously fuzzy to measure. Want to know if your people are praying more? Fuzzy.
But maybe there’s another behavior that is countable, or maybe you can count the ‘upstream’ indicators of what you’re after, like how many prayer events you hold, or how much time is spent in prayer during worship gatherings or small groups.
2. Drive Positive Behavior
As you explain to staff & volunteers why you’re measuring whatever you settle on, you’ll be describing why it’s important. Casting vision for what’s important helps people keep the main thing the main thing. And it keeps everyone pulling in the same direction. As the old saying goes, “What gets measures gets done.”
The other way it drives positive behavior is that it reinforces the discipline of keeping track of what’s important. As you create ministry reports, the first few are likely to be awful. They’re either going to be empty because you don’t have any data history to pull from, or they’re going to prove that you didn’t set them up quite right, which also results in an empty report. Keep requiring the reports; it will force the team to make it work.
3. Make Better Decisions
This works on 2 levels: your staff & volunteers will make better decisions because they have a filter for what’s important (and therefore what’s not); and your leadership will be able to make better decisions with the information contained in the reports.
Had no idea that only 15% of your visitors ever returned for a second visit? What is the Spirit saying to you about that? What is He calling you to do about it? Now you can lead the charge toward doing measurably better.
Without your collective results in some kind of report you either have to try to keep everything in your head (and perhaps even do the counting yourself), or you have to settle for “Boy, I sure hope we’re making disciples, but I really have no idea.”