Chart Courtesy of HackingChristianity.net
It is absolutely no secret that this blogger is suspicious of and articulates the dark side of Church Metrics, which is the use of quantitative data to evaluate the quality of a church’s ministry or clergy leadership.
However, while we’ve taken great care to be champions of “better ways” rather than just critics, so far we have not offered a substantial alternative to the church metrics.
A Chart to help with Outreach Evaluation
At a district meeting in my new ministry context, we were given the following chart to gauge our outreach efforts and to help with planning. I’ve spruced it up and made it more clear, but it’s from The Externally Focused Quest: Becoming the Best Church for the Community by Swanson & Rusaw. You can view the original chart here in Google Books but here’s my version (see blank chart at the top of this post).
Basically the idea is that you place a dot or something in each square to indicate where your church has a program or person or offering regarding outreach and its frequency. Then you evaluate. Are there a ton of programs that happen yearly and raise money (or donate materials ie. “things”)? Are there more programs that happen weekly and have lots of volunteers? You can see how this splits our outreach into categories to see where the needs are.
The authors of the chart outline that there are two movements that make a church more vital over time:
- Movement vertically (from money to projects to people): our hearts grow stronger for outreach the closer we get to people in need, so movement from giving money during a church service to committing to a project to working face-to-face with people “grows” the heart and allows God to work more clearly in it.
- Movement horizontally (from yearly to quarterly to monthly to weekly): for our members advanced in age or decreased in ability, their only viable option may be to open their wallets more deeply as they contribute to the church financially more often. Likewise, some members may not have the money to give, but can volunteer more often as their schedules allow. Both are indicative of growth in affection towards outreach.
Thus a church that is growing in a heart for missions would have a good balance across the chart, though if it were weighted, more dots in weekly personal outreach is the strongest.
So this is a great chart. But it’s not only great in a utilitarian way for your congregation (feel free to borrow it!), but also to illuminate the dark side of church metrics in the United Methodist Church as it stands.