My Favorite 3 Metrics. Are They Yours?

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Blog | 5 comments

Metrics: Your board loves them.  If you hit them, so do you.  But deep inside – especially if you’re leading a church or non-profit – you always wonder if your metrics are the right metrics.  “Is it Sunday worship?  Weekly offerings?  Small group participation?  Number of ‘divine appointment’ stories?” 

Then you have soft versus hard metrics.  Hard are the objective, they-are-what-they-are, and easily measureable.  Soft are the intangible, story-oriented.  The number of people who said “Thank you!”  The number of generosity stories we received.  More difficult but definitely speaking to the heart.

Mix soft metrics into the hard ones and it’s a real struggle determining not only the what but also the how

Some pastors I talk to possess metrics phobia.  “Just preach the Gospel and let Jesus do the work.”  Amen to preaching the Gospel and letting Jesus do the work.  But to negate numbers of any kind flies somewhat in the face of Acts, Numbers, the parables of the talents, and just a basic appreciation of stewarding God’s gifts well.  Metrics help us understand if our efforts are the right efforts.

Metrics can also be broken into two kinds: Leading indicators and trailing indicators.  Often we confuse the two.  Leading indicators are the metrics we measure to see if the trailing indicators are materializing.  An example:  a leading indicator could be “guests in worship or house church, or unchurched neighbors in our small groups,” while a trailing indicator could be “# of adult baptisms;”  the understanding being that before I can baptize an adult convert, I have to engage them and form a relationship with them in some other setting.  I need to have the leading events happening before the trailing ones materialize.

Thus the metrics we’ve landed on for FiveTwo.  Our desire is a movement of God’s Spirit that enlarges God’s kingdom.  We believe for that to happen we who are Church need to think in new ways, try new ways and act in new ways to reach God’s lost people in our communities.  Frankly, we need some new metrics.

So here are our Big 3, moving from leading to trailing:

·       1 from 10 (1 new apprentice from every 10 leaders in a local)

·       1 in 10 (1 new start in the next 10 months)

·       1 to 10 (1 baptism to every 10 people in worship)

These three are my favorite.  I hope they become yours as well.  Let’s take a look at each one individually.

1 from 10: Go back to that list of metrics that identify a movement from the previous post. One of the distinguishing characteristics is a grassroots ability to develop leaders. This breaks into two parts:  Identifying people with leadership ability, and shaping and developing according to their gifts and calling.

Leadership development has challenged the Western Church since forever.  We’ve lost the concept of “learning while doing.”  The rabbinical model employed by Jesus has become foreign to us.  What if we reinstituted it???

A commitment to doing things differently is what it takes. And that’s where FiveTwo's first goal fits. Conscious opportunities to walk beside someone, pouring into them; residencies and apprentice programs for leaders; those are some of the bests way to provide a new leader with useful real-time experience that can really equip them to make a difference.

What if we could develop a new kind of leader in a new kind of ancient way?

What if we could balance the experience that leaders in the movement already have with a practical on-the-ground-laboratory to try things out?

If your future leaders had that kind of apprenticing, residency experience, they'd be able to risk appropriately, measure their mettle, and fail without crashing to the ground.  Safety nets in the form of people are powerful.

Developing a mindset that seeks apprentices is key to FiveTwo welcoming more people into God’s kingdom.  When our metrics include future leaders – that’s what apprentices are – we’re saying that leadership is critical.  And when we create environments where future leaders can risk and fly, that’s when movements get moving.  Practical experience that not only confirms an individual’s calling to leadership but also helps them understand how this calling is expressed in their unique mix of spiritual gifts, talents and temperament in God’s kingdom, that kind of culture makes all the difference in the world.

The first goal for every FiveTwo local is to identify and enlist one apprentice for every 10 leaders in a Local.  Apprentices are key leading metrics.  No apprentices, no sacramental entrepreneurs who start new ministries that lead to baptizing 1 person for every 10 in worship.  Get it?  (If you’d like to learn more about how we do our residency program at CrossPoint so that the residents are self-funded, send me an email.  Let’s talk.)

The first goal for every FiveTwo Local is to enlist one apprentice for every 10 leaders in a Local.  Who’s your apprentice???  Is this one of your metrics?

1 in 10: It’s been demonstrated time and time again that to reach new people the church is most effective when we start new things. Familiar and comfortable isn’t appealing to people who aren’t already familiar and comfortable with what’s going on. That holds not only in the church environment but anywhere in human experience.

So what if we took seriously our commitment to reach new people by starting new opportunities? What if we could identify people who aren’t connected to our churches, to our ministries, to our small groups, and our missional communities, and begin brand-new stuff and take brand new steps with the sole intent of connecting them into the baptized Body of Believers?  What if new starts were one of your key metrics?

If we’re really serious about reaching people who don’t know Jesus, our best strategy is to start new to reach new.

The second goal for every FiveTwo local is to start one new ministry to reach people who don’t know Jesus every 10 months.  One new opportunity every 10 months.  Are you in?

1 to 10: If we're developing leaders (the point of the first goal), and we’re focusing our efforts on opportunities for sharing Jesus with people outside of Jesus’ kingdom, (the point of the second goal), and we’re intentionally replicating what we’re about, new people will be added to God’s kingdom. The real question is how many?

That’s where the third goal comes in: One baptism for every 10 people in worship in your congregation.  That’s a high standard.  But it’s the best of all the metrics because not only does it welcome someone into Jesus' kingdom, it also starts them on the path of discipleship.  Plus, it works no matter your worship setting: large church, house church, rural, urban.  If we worship when we gather, we should share Jesus when we scatter.  If we’re serious about expanding Jesus’ Kingdom, then let’s expand Jesus’ kingdom!

Full disclosure: This baptism goal used to be first in FiveTwo’s list. But one baptism for every 10 people in worship is really the outcome of developing leaders who intentionally start new things to reach new people.  It’s the trailing indicator, the metric that happens when the others are happening. If we get the heart of FiveTwo right and balance our strategies, imagine what’s possible.

What do you think?  Are these the metrics you’ll measure?  Will you and your FiveTwo Local commit to own these three goals? Better yet, will you and your congregation commit to these three goals this year and every year?   FiveTwo is dreaming about this. And we will help. But it starts with YOU making the commitment.  

We’d love to hear your comments below!

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