I received a copy of Earl Creps’ book “Off Road Disciplines” a while back and am working my way slowly through it (not because it is such a hard read, but because i am just slow). Even though i have read most of the the missional leadership books out there, I have found it a very helpful, practical book. I think the chapter i have enjoyed the most is his chapter on Assessment: The Discipline of Missional Efficiency. He writes,
“Harvard’s Robert Behn observes that ‘what gets measured gets done’ … the metrics employed by an organization have a way of focusing its attention and resources on the goals those measurements are tied to, regardless of whether the g oals have merit or not. So when we measure, we need to take extra care that we are evaluating things that need and deserve it, not just the things that are easier to count.”
This begs the questions: what are we measuring? and, are we even measuring anything at all. There is a great need for the church to begin measuring qualitatively instead of quantitatively. While measuring things like attendance and giving and # of people in small groups are not totally bad, they do not tell you how effective your church is at “the top line” (which, Creps describes as, “the extent to which we are individually and corporately conformed to his image.” I could give plenty of examples of people who come to church every Sunday, tithe over 10% and are part of a small gropu that are NOT being conformed to his image. (Of course, i know others who do those things who are. And, that is the point, these thing do not really decisivly tell us anything one way or another). These things are good to know, and we should know them, but we need to learn to assess the strengths of our churches by things like stories, lives changed and other intangibles.
Basically, when the only numbers we report and care about are attendance and giving we’re setting ourselves up for problems… At The Well, I’ve been thinking through would it looks like to assess our community with a more qualitative eye more than a quantitative one….