Measurements that Matter for Church
I can still hear my dad standing in the garage showing me how to use his power tools for the first time. “Son, measure twice and cut once.” At the time, I don’t think that I fully understood that statement, but having made countless extra trips to the hardware store because I messed up a cut, I won’t forget his adage again – at least not until I am rushing to complete a home project. His advice was aimed at helping me a better carpenter, but the statement of measuring twice and cutting once applies well beyond using a table saw.
Our world turns at a breakneck pace and too often we fall into the trap of ‘fire, then aim’. If we do this and hit the target, it is just dumb luck, but more often we miss and then have to start over. It can be challenging to stop sprinting through life, especially as church leaders, because there is so much that needs to get done. But if we are not being intentional to identify what we want to achieve, how we will measure it, and then evaluate our progress towards our goals, then our chances of success aren’t much better than the ‘fire, then aim’ marksman.
So what are the measurements that matter for churches? There are tons of things that we can look at to help us figure out if we are being successful or not. How do we know which metrics are informative and which ones are noise? At aware3, we have worked with hundreds of churches and have partnered with a wide array of faith communities. The most common metrics that we see people measuring are things like attendance, giving, the number of volunteers, and growth vs. attrition. These measures are important and there is a lot we can learn from them. But the mission of the church isn’t to get people to show up, write a check and help in the nursery. The aim is to help people grow in connection to and likeness of Jesus. But those are fairly intangible things. So how can we hope to measure it? The scriptures tell us a few ways of identifying disciples. Because the aware3 platform is designed to help you make disciples, it isn’t surprising that we have features that help you do each of these more easily.
Disciples are people of prayer
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18: “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Use the Prayer feature within the aware3 app to request prayer when you need it most.
Disciples engage with the scriptures
Joshua 1:8: “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” There are a variety of tools that help you stay connected to the scriptures. Read along with your church’s’ reading plan, watch past sermons on your devices or use the integrated Bible to have your devotions, including note taking for reflections.
Disciples are connected to each other
Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Never miss a gathering with our useful calendar; connect with others using our small group finder and stay connected to each other using powerful communication tools.
Disciples meet needs
Isaiah 58:6-8: “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” Urgent Needs provide the tools to address immediate needs as you come across them and the campaign feature supports ongoing ministry, making easy for everyone in your church to participate.
Discipleship leads to generosity
Deuteronomy 16:17: “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.” Obviously, giving is important. Churches have budgets, we have ministry objectives that require resources, and that means giving matters. But the most important reason that giving matters has nothing to do with organizational needs. It matters because the disciplined heart is generous and invests all types of resources (time, talent and treasure) into the work of the kingdom. We make the act of giving easy with our unified giving solution, no matter how you want to give.
Making disciples is a specific call of the church. By focusing on the right metrics of discipleship, we are able to see how we are doing at achieving this goal. Another adage of my father’s was to ‘invest my time and energy into the things that last’. The work of the kingdom and the investments we make into people’s lives last forever. It’s worth measuring twice and cutting once.
What ways are you evaluating your disciple making efforts and what role does technology play in them?