Businesses spend a significant amount of time and money on understanding how their processes and systems are working to support growth. The general idea that 'you can’t manage what you don’t measure' is something that prompts them to habitually evaluate and assess their strategies. They realize that if they don’t take the time to evaluate their efforts, their businesses will decay or get passed by a competitor.
Unfortunately, most church leaders are reactive in nature. We don’t take to time to evaluate the connections process until numbers have dropped significantly or growth has plateaued. We don’t assess our system for generosity until we’re in the middle of a giving slump. Whatever the reason, many churches typically don’t choose to proactively evaluate and adjust their patterns unless something externally is driving it.
“You can only expect what you inspect. Churches that value and welcome assessments can expect health and growth. The facts you discover may not be friendly, but they will enable your church to become better at making disciples.”
While they may take time once year to look back over the annual growth or budget, there’s not the kind of consistent culture of evaluation that creates ongoing momentum.
How can you create a culture of evaluation in your church? Here are a few ideas:
- Know what you’re going to measure. Churches that are doing amazing ministry are not content with just knowing attendance and giving numbers. They care about the deeper metrics that leading to life change. While they might dig into a deeper evaluation at the end of the year, they realize that it’s critical to look at certain metrics on a regular basis. If you’re looking for a good place to start, here are nine metrics that when properly measured can improve the overall health of your church.
- Know how often you’re going to measure it. It’s easy to get caught up in doing ministry and forget the need to evaluate and assess. Establish a pattern for measuring your ministry effectiveness. Maybe it’s quarterly. Maybe it’s monthly. Maybe it’s some sort of combination. Whatever you decide, make sure you set hard dates on the calendar and stick to them.
- Take the stigma out of evaluation. Sometimes 'evaluation' can have a negative undertone. Staff members believe that if you’re conducting an evaluation, something must be wrong. This can cripple your ability to create a culture of assessment more than anything else. How do we combat the negative connotation of evaluation? Celebrate the wins. Value honest feedback and transparency from your staff members and approach everything as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Churches that value and welcome assessments can expect health and growth. While your leadership team may have scheduled a time at the end of the year to evaluate your efforts for 2013, don’t wait until December to implement a year-end evaluation for your church.
Has your church created a culture of evaluation? What are some practical tips you would give to other churches looking to do the same?