I’m a strong advocate for the saying, “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.” That means that if you aren’t measuring something, it’s probably not getting better. If you are a runner who isn’t tracking your time and distance, you probably aren’t improving as a runner. So many churches measure attendance because it’s an easy number to obtain. What happens when all you measure is church attendance? You have a lot of shallow people filling your church every week who aren’t connecting to God or to each other. The evangelical church has been guilty of this for years.
In international work more than ever it is important that you have measurable results. There are countless ways to measure success. In the work of a Christian, one possible way is laid out for us at the end of the second chapter of Acts.
Acts 2:42-47 says:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This is describing what a Christian community looked like right after Jesus died. One thing we have to be aware of, is that this passage is a description of what the early church looked like, not a prescription of exactly what our communities should look like. Too often we read passages like this and try to force fit our culture into it, this can have very damaging results.
That said, here are some measurable results you can use to know if you are on the right track. Since a lot of our success is spiritual and therefore intangible, it’s easy to fake. Be very cautious of this, it will only harm you and your ministry by pretending to have results. The real challenge, however, is it’s even easy to deceive yourself! Sit down with a trusted supporter, board member, or colleague every month and measure your success based on the following results: