It’s an old business truthism that you can improve what you can measure, but it’s equally dangerous to measure the wrong thing. If you are measuring the wrong metrics then you will focus on the wrong things. Unfortunately, this is easy for churches to do.
The More Visible A Metric Is, The Less Useful It Is
I came across this idea thanks to Andy Crestodian in the CoSchedule podcast. he pointed out that if a metric is easy to see and measure, it’s less useful. In churches, attendance is highly visible and easy to measure, but while it’s great to boost attendance, a shallow church with a high attendance isn’t as successfully following Jesus as a small but committed church.
Of course these aren’t exclusive states, but if you use attendance as you key metric and not spiritual depth and life, then you run this risk of becoming a large, shallow church.
But How Do You Measure Something Like Spiritual Life?
Let’s take “spiritual life” as a metric. To put this on simple terms, “are people deepening in their spiritual life with Jesus?” That’s not something that’s easy to measure.
A stat like someone’s attendance is very poor. You can come to church every week just because someone else drags you along. Stats like completion of certain discipleship courses is better, but do they really reflect spiritual life or are they based on academic knowledge of God?
Perhaps a better way to measure would be based on a string of different metrics including factors like attendance, course completion, involvement with different ministries and so on.
No single factor is indicative but taken all together, they can perhaps give a more accurate picture.
This clearly isn’t an easy metric to measure and requires a lot of data to accurately detect.
Are You Measuring The Right Metrics?
As life and people are complicated and complex things, it’s easy to get focused on the wrong measuring sticks and turn those into our goals rather than other more important goals.
So what metrics are you measuring? How important do you think they are?