Measure the Process

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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