What Do You Measure?
I've mentioned before how much I enjoyed Just Ask Leadership by Gary B. Cohen. He talks in the book about a conversation he had with Robert Fry (former executive vice president of L.L. Bean), when he asked him "What is the single most powerful question you've ever been asked in your career?" He explains the answer:
The answer came to him immediately, but before he shared it, he provided the context. His company measured everything, which is a fairly standard practice for companies that have grown up in the direct marketing industry. But when an outside consultant asked, "What are the top two or three key measurements to know that you're reaching your goals?" the executive committee fell silent. According to Bob, "As you looked around the table you could sense a fear of not knowing. Each of us had plenty of key performance indicators in our departments, but none that as a company we could all agree on were the most important. It was totally shocking how a company this well organized and planned could be stumped by such a straightforward question."
So my question for you, church leaders, is what would your answer be? What are the top two or three more important things that you measure? Is it attendance? Baptisms? Money in the offering plate? Or perhaps you measure the depth at which people are becoming more Christ-like or the success at making disciples? If so, exactly how do you measure that?
I wonder if we should be measuring community impact? What if the success of a local church was measured by whether unwed teen pregnancies went down in that community? Or divorce rates were reduced? Or graduation rates went up? Or poverty was eliminated?
I personally don't think every church will have the same measurements. But I do think it is important to wrestle with the question. And...to be in agreement with your leadership team about your answer.