Scorecards are valuable in any game because they tell you whether or not you’re winning. If it is important to know if you’re winning in a game, how much more important is it to know if you are “winning” as a church? It eternally matters!
I’m one of those people who believes that if you don’t measure something, you don’t value it. So what we measure has eternal consequences.
Now I can hear some of my colleagues say, “I’m not going to play the numbers game. All that matters is that I’m faithful and I’m not responsible for the results.” The problem with this response is that it isn’t a faithful response. One can’t just live a good life and go to worship and count that as faithfulness. But a lot of people do.
The Old Scorecard
But truth be told, most of us have a scorecard whether or not we like to admit it. Here is the scorecard I run into most often when consulting or coaching.
- How many people do we have in worship?
- Did we raise our budget?
Whereas both of these are important, neither of them has anything to do with Jesus’ last will and testament – “Go therefore and make disciples.” Matt. 28:19
Truth be told, we’re losing the game of making disciples. Each year we fall further behind. Each year more churches close than the year before. Something’s got to give. Perhaps its time to get serious and follow Jesus’ command to make disciples.
So let me suggest a new scorecard, keeping in mind that you should measure attendance and income but these should be secondary measurements. In other words, don’t shoot the mule until you learn how to drive the tractor.
The New Scorecard
The ultimate measurement is: Are we fulfilling the last will and testament of Jesus?
So what would a scorecard look like based on Jesus’ command to make disciples?
- How many new disciples do we have this year? Discipleship always begins here. For that reason you must have a clearly defined definition of what a disciple is. You might find Randy Frazee’s book, Think, Act, Be Like Jesus helpful in formulating your definition.
- How many of our people are being apprenticed? In most cases mentoring is a one-on-one experience.
- How many of our people are we sending out to connect with lost people? It doesn’t matter what you are sending them out to do as long as it results in four things: (1) It blesses those being served; (2) It blesses those serving; (3) It creates visibility for the church; and (4) It results in growing the Kingdom of God.
- How many churches are we producing each year? This is where the scorecard gets sticky. But if you follow the Acts of the Apostles you can’t help but see a pattern of church planting. Which would you rather be, a church like Jerusalem or a church like Antioch? (Not sure which to prefer? See my blog post on Jerusalem vs Antioch)
- How many of our plants have reproduced within three years? Reproducing churches is the best way to fulfill the part of Jesus’s last will and testament that says, “Go make disciples of all nations.”
Bill Easum has a thirty-year track record of growing congregations in two denominations. His last church, which he re-started and pastored for twenty-four years, grew to be one of the largest United Methodist Churches in South Texas. His record of “evangelization” and “social justice” ministries was acknowledged by Industrial Areas Foundation in New York as one of the finest examples in North America. Since 1987 Bill has devoted his time to consulting, coaching, and speaking. Bill is the Founder and President of The Effective Church Group, formerly 21st Century Strategies.
This article was originally published through Effective Church Group. Used with permission.