Thursday, July 14, 2011

Measuring the Success of a Church

A friend asked the question "How is 'success' in ministry measured?"  What a very interesting question.  It has prompted me to ask a similar question.  How do you measure the success of a church?  I have been thinking,   and I don't have a full answer to the question. What you are going to read are just some thoughts, and I thought I should probably put them down somewhere.  What's a blog for anyway?  ;)

KCC has developed a discipleship process that is summed up in four "Ds."  A disciple DEVOTES themselves to God.  A disciple DEVELOPS in Christlikeness.  A disciple DOES.  Finally, a  disciple DISCIPLES.  As I look over these four, what do you call them, actions...phases...characteristics... I can't help but draw a connection between these what we are supposed to do as disciples and a church's measurement of success.

How does a church determine whether it is being successful in making disciples?  Numbers are always a good indicator that some things are being done right.  As I reflect on "devote" I think that one tool for success is the consistency of attendance by members.  I understand that there will be times when people will not attend services for various reasons such as vacation and so on, but a church that is doing its job, I think, will find that members are pretty consistent in their attendance of worship services.

A church that is doing its job will see its members involved in developing activities such as Sunday school, evening classes and/or small groups.  Members will see the value of developing and will avail themselves to activities that are designed by the church to do this.  I'm not saying that members of the church should be at a church function every night of the week, but I believe that every member should be involved in one developing activity during the week.

Members of a church should be doing ministry within the church.  If the church is doing its job developing disciples then a disciple will see the importance of being involved in the work and maintenance of their church.  The percentage of people doing ministry in the church should be higher then the typical 20% of people doing 80% of the work.  Along with this I believe that if a church is doing its job correctly then members should be tithing faithfully.

Lastly, the church should be growing.  If a church's disciples are discipling others then there is no reason why a church should not be growing and its members involved in weekly discipleship relationships (after all, this is the "Great Commission" for every Christian).  If we are truly encouraging people to be the disciples that God has called one of the greatest measures of success is people being involved in some discipleship program(s) that has been developed by the church and/or church sanctioned.  Understand this though.  Whatever the program is that a church uses does not mean that discipleship ends when the program ends.  If anything the program should jumpstart a discipleship relationship that will last for years to come.

By looking at the discipleship process, summed up in the 4 Ds, I believe we can develop measuring tools for success.  Also, as I am thinking about measurements of success I am reminded of a popular statistic that is being thrown around right now.  They (those who have crunched the numbers) have noticed that at least 70% of 17-21 year olds end up leaving the church.  If a church is truly making disciples then a success measurement is seeing a majority of these people in this age group actively involved in church and ministry whether it be the church their home church or a new church.

There they are; my initial thoughts about how to measure the success of a church.  Let me know what you think?  Are their other measurements you can think of?

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