Should We Measure The Churches Effectiveness?

flot-small.pngThis is a question that can and has gone a lot of different ways. It's not a matter of what we should measure but a matter of should we try to measure the effectiveness of the church at all. For some it's all about numbers. They want to measure their churches growth rates so they can compare it to other churches. The alternative to this view says we can't compare one church to another because God calls different groups in different ways. In an effort to skirt comparisons churches may try not to have what they do measured.

But, we all measure the world around us. A pastor tries to keep his finger on the pulse of the church. This is a measurement. Leaders over a bible study many try to see where to take the group next. This is a measurement. Let's look at a few reasons measuring the effectiveness of the church is a good thing.

Danger! Danger!

The first thing to address is a large inherent danger in measuring. For some reason we love to misuse the information that's collected. Measurements can tell us a lot. They can tell us how the church is doing compared to its goal. They can point out weaknesses in what the church doing. They are a tool that God has given us for ministry. But, we often love to take the results and compare them to other churches and ministries. We take the data and analysis and use it in destructive ways rather than constructive ways.

This doesn't mean we avoid measurements. It means we need to do it in a controlled environment and it gives us an opportunity to teach about the good and healthy ways to use the information we learn.

God Gave Us Analysts

God gave some people the ability to analyze and measure situations. These are people who love to do this and have some deep seeded talent for it. These are people and gifts God has given us to use in ministry.

God Gave Us A Mission

God gave us a specific mission and gives local churches individual missions that still roll up to Gods greater mission. We are to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." This is a mission written in a measurable way. To create relevant metrics we take this mission and tie it into our local context giving us something to measure that can tell us details about our local church.

God Gave Us A Use For The Measurements

Church leaders can't see everything going on in the church. They can't have their pulse on everything. Measurements let them take a look at things in a way that's removed from their biases and preferences. This gives church leadership the ability to see some things they wouldn't otherwise see. It can help them confirm or refute what they may already be thinking. This helps them plan the churches path forward in living out their mission.

Hopefully you can see that measuring the effectiveness of the church is a good thing as long as we resist the temptation to misuse what is learned. Next up, let's look at how to measure the churches effectiveness.