Whether it likes to admit it or not, every church measures stuff.
Sure, spirituality it hard to quantify. Of course, the Kingdom of God is not a business. Yes, the church does not have traditional goods, products, inventory.
But we all keep score.
The two most traditional church metrics are finances and attendance. “Rear ends in seats and offering counts”.
We don’t like to acknowledge this but it’s true. Many of the churches that have the greatest impact – spiritual or otherwise – enjoy robust attendance growth and are able to pay their bills and invest in new infrastructure, staff and outreach programs.
But, something is going on. A sense that a church can have lots of people coming and a healthy bank account or endowment and still not be engaging its own people, much less its community.
What if the problem is that we are using the wrong measuring stick?
We believe that the most important metric a church can track is engagement.
Are your people engaged with God, each other, and their community.
Here are some possible ways to measure engagement.
Are people connecting their faith to their everyday lives in practical ways?
Are people involved in serving others tangibly – outside the church?
Does your community look at your church as a resource or a drain or, most likely, just part of the furniture of the neighborhood?
Are people using their spiritual gifts in ministry – both inside and outside the church?
Do people say they have significant relationships in the church?
Do people feel personally connected to the mission and values of the church?
Is the spiritual center of the church in the large gathering or – hopefully – the countless smaller, more relational gatherings that take place (not just traditional small groups but cohorts organized around mission and service as well)?
That’s not an exhaustive list, by any means. But we hope it captures your imagination and leads you to dream for engagement outside of rear ends in seats and adequate offerings?
What would you add to the list?