Every church is coming into this fall ministry season at a different stage. Yet, every church seems to focus on the same metrics: budget, building, and butts in seats. Some churches will feel great about these numbers in mid-September, but these metrics could induce guilt, shame, and frustration for many.
What if there were metrics that would encourage your congregation in whatever stage you are in? Although there are a lot of arguments against keeping numerical metrics (especially in a spiritual institution that prefers narrative-based growth measurements), I believe that keeping metrics can actually rally your congregation around a common goal in a way that helps you live more like Christ.
Here are a few examples of metrics that can help your church focus on its mission:
- Number of households that know the names of their next-door neighbors.
- Number of minutes that people in our congregation were present in their neighborhood outside of their house, at least a portion of which was spent praying for their neighbors.
- Number of interactions with neighbors. An interaction includes at least one curious question from us (Such as: What is your dog's name? How was your first day of school? When did you get that new car?) that gives us an opportunity to listen to them.
- Number of “third spaces” people in our congregation spent time in (third spaces refers to places where people spend time between home (“first place”) and work (“second place”).
- Number of new people we met and learned the names of.
- Number of other nonprofit organizations we served with.
If these metrics could breathe new life into your congregation and your calling as “sent ones,” the next thing to consider is how you will collect these metrics. A few ideas:
- Choose just one or two of these metrics for a set period of time. Maybe each month, you'll keep track of a different metric.
- You could have slips of paper collected with the offering on Sunday mornings.
- A bulletin board at church with sticky notes or newsprint could be a place for reporting.
- You could offer a Google form or email address to send daily or weekly stats.
- Do you have a tech-savvy person in your church? They could develop a simple app for reporting and reminding your congregation to participate.
Finally, metrics are only as good as what we learn from them. This data should help us celebrate the missional moves our congregations are making. But, it should also point us to areas we need growth. So, who will review and reflect on this data in your congregation? And, how will you report on it?
Resonate's regional teams would love to learn alongside you. If you're keeping missional metrics this season, let us know! We’re equipped to help you reflect on what you're learning and discern what next steps you can take as a congregation to inspire mission.
Amy Schenkel is Resonate Global Mission’s Regional Mission Leader for the Great Lakes region