Over the weekend, I started thinking about metrics and the church. It’s an interesting thing to think about. I’m not kidding either. Hang with me here.
Metrics are the things we measure in an organization to tell us how we are doing. Churches, businesses, organizations, governments – they all use metrics. Or at least they should be. Or they are, they may not realize it.
At any rate, this got me thinking – as a church, what is it that we measure? What are our metrics?
Metrics are important because they signify what we think is important.
I think churches should use metrics. It’s a good business practice. However, what we measure should not match what businesses measure. A business and a church are not the same, do not have the same purpose or reasons for existing.
When I think about what a church usually measures, what I see is something like this – attendance, income, expenses, activities, pastoral visits, etc. A lot of these metrics are no different from what a business measures. And that can be ok.
Another important point is this, I think – it’s not just what we measure, but what our most important measurements are. How do we know what our most important measurements are? They are usually the ones that we share with others. In many churches, I have seen churches share their attendance numbers and their weekly donation revenue.
Are these the only things that matter to a church? Is there more?
In a specifically Lutheran context, I have to ask a question – where does God fit into this? Lutherans preach the idea that humans are incapable of doing anything to bring about their own salvation – it’s all God’s work. If that is true and that is what Lutheran churches hold onto, then I have to ask, what are Lutheran churches measuring? What are the metrics? What are the things we are responsible for and the things we claim that God is responsible for? How do we measure these things?
So what do you think are proper metrics for churches to measure? What are God-centered metrics? I welcome your thoughts on this as I play around with the idea and how it relates to mission redevelopment in the church.