Monday, March 30, 2009

Keeping Score

In January, I announced that we would be waging an all-out assault on losing in our church. For more on that, you can read this post. But part of being a winning church is making sure that we are keeping proper score. What constitutes a "win"? How do we know when we've hit the target (or missed the target)? What is it that counts?

This is a conversation the elders and I have been having for the last several weeks, and here are some of the things we've come up with. We recognize that there's been a faulty scoreboard that we've been using, and we're trying to replace it with a more accurate one. Here are some of the changes that we're working on. I'll be covering three of the paradigm shifts this week, and three next week.

1. Number of People vs. Number of Unchurched People
In the past, if it was Soccer Camp or a worship service or a Primetimers picnic, we gauged the success of an event by the overall number of people. We still want to keep track of everybody, but now we're most interested in the number of unchurched people that we can get involved and connected to our church. The reason is that we will never bring unchurched people to a growing and deepening relationship with Christ if we can't get them established in a community that will support and encourage them on their spiritual journeys. The number of unchurched people is an indicator of how well we are accomplishing our mission.

2. Percentage of PCC People Involved vs. Percentage of PCC People Who "Own" It
In the past, we would consider something successful if we could get a large percentage of our church actively involved. Soccer Camp, Dinner Theatre, Trunk Or Treat, 40 Days of Community, and small groups are all examples of things that we have encouraged "everybody" to be a part of. But not everybody needs to be involved in everything that comes around. We are realizing that we need to allow people to decide for themselves what is going to be the best use of their time, talents, and resources for God's kingdom, rather than trying to give them the "hard sell" to get involved. Rather than grumpy, reluctant participation, what I'd much prefer is for someone to not be involved but nevertheless excited about what their church is doing. I'd rather have someone brag to their friend about something they're not personally involved in than to have their arm twisted so that they're burdened down by yet another church activity. And I want everyone who does choose to participate to do so because they're genuinely excited about this opportunity they have to serve and give of themselves.

3. Everything Runs Smoothly vs. Relational Contact
In the past, we placed a heavy emphasis on a smooth-running operation. We wanted ministries and events that were well-organized and well-executed. And while there's nothing wrong with that, it has led us often to fuss over minor details and neglect the opportunity to engage with people standing right in front of us. If someone comes to a well-oiled event, they may have a good time, but if they are personally engaged and someone takes an interest in their real life and their real needs, they're much more likely to be impressed with PCC as a place that oozes love (which is what Jesus said would be the hallmark of his church in Jn. 13:35). Now, rather than observing the administrative details, we'd rather hear stories about new relationships that were established and existing relationships that were strengthened. We are additionally trying to think of ways that we can make our ministries and our events more intentionally relationship-intensive.

Tune in next week for three more shifts that we're making in evaluating the effectiveness of our ministries and events.

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