Winning and Losing: Rethinking Our Personal Scorecards

Todd Wilson

I’ve never been a hockey fan. The long list of reasons is rooted in my inability to logically follow the game (if a “game” is what you call an encounter between two hockey teams). The puck is too small for my eyes to follow on television, and the rules are so confusing that I’ve given up trying to understand what “off sides” and “icing” even mean. However, despite these barriers, I do understand the universal language of what it means to win.

The team with the most points at the end of the game wins, every time. After watching the first 58 minutes of the recent Stanley Cup championship game, I instinctively understood the significance of a “0-0” tie score with only two minutes left. While the first 58 minutes were entertaining for some, all that would matter in the next two minutes was which team scored the winning goal!

Often, there is a fine line between winning and losing. My freshman year in college, the NC State Wolfpack won the NCAA championship in the final seconds of the final game of a season with 30+ basketball games. Over 72,000 seconds of play that season and the difference between winning and losing came down to two seconds!

Having our eyes fixed on the prize and what it means to “score” and to “win” is vitally important. God cares about our effort and the journey, but He wants us to win in His mission for His people here on earth.

God cares about our effort and the journey, but He wants us to win in His mission for His people here on earth.

Scorecards are important tools in measuring how we’re doing in making progress toward winning. Sometimes we embrace them as our friends, and sometimes we run from them. I need to lose weight. The scale should be the tool I use to hold myself accountable to winning and accomplishing my goals. Instead, I tend to avoid it, thereby missing its powerful ability to help me progress.

Scorecards are meaningless unless we embrace them, use them, and allow them to guide our journey to winning.

Scorecards are meaningless unless we embrace them.

In recent decades (and probably throughout the past 2,000 years), the Church has talked about the need for the right scorecard and metrics. Why? We instinctively sense something’s not right in our approach to winning (or we have a wrong understanding of winning).

So, what does it mean for us to “win” in Jesus’ mission for His church? At Exponential, we’ve stressed the vital importance of disciple making as the first and critical dimension of multiplication. Without it, we can’t hope to carry out Jesus’ command and multiply His Church “to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). But disciple making goes beyond multiplication. It’s a church’s core purpose. If we do it Jesus’ way, we will multiply.

How do we know if we’re winning? Not just as churches, but as individuals?

I’m thrilled to tell you about our next online assessment tool that’s intended to help you discern your progress in winning. Exponential has joined with Discipleship.org and Healthy Growing Churches to develop the Disciple Maker assessment tool. This tool is FREE, takes about 20 minutes to complete, and will help you discern how you’re doing in playing your part in Jesus’ mission for His Church.

Our purpose for creating this assessment is twofold: First, we want to help Christians get an accurate perception of themselves as disciple makers so that they can establish a baseline and then identify and pursue a path for growth. Second, our prayer is that as more people become disciple makers who make disciple makers, we will advance our “4 to 10 mission” to see reproducing churches in the United States increase from 4 percent to greater than 10 percent.

Like the Becoming Five tool, we’ve established five levels of disciple making (1-5) with Level 1 being behaviors that distract from disciple-making efforts and Level 5 describing behaviors that multiply disciples. These disciple makers have become so effective that those they raise up become disciple makers. Anyone who takes the assessment immediately receives their disciple-making score, indicating their level of disciple making using three different perspectives: the past, current and future (the level you aspire to reach).

As we were finishing up the new assessment, an unexpected result emerged from the 200+ leaders who took the final beta test. Less than 25 percent (less than one in four leaders) aspired to Level 5 disciple making. We thought that number would certainly be greater than 75 percent. Instead, most leaders aspired to Level 4 instead of 5. The difference? Level 4 focuses on making disciples. Level 5 focuses on making disciple makers. The difference is subtle and yet so profound, representing the catalytic difference between addition growth and more rapid multiplication.

These results highlight the vital importance of using diagnostic tools that can help shape our paradigms and scorecards. Our prayer is that this new Disciple Makers tool will help thousands of Christ followers shift their scorecards to see the value in making disciple makers to the second, third, and fourth generations.

I couldn’t be more excited about the alignment of our growing library of practical assessment tools. Exponential is committed to identifying and developing practical resources to help both churches and individuals become intentional about disciple making that ultimately starts and multiplies churches. We continue to ask, “How can we help resource churches to enlarge their vision for multiplication?”

I encourage you to click here and first take the Disciple Maker Assessment yourself. Then ask your team to take it, and from there share it with your small group leaders to help them discover their disciple-maker score.

I’m convinced that as we get honest about our reality and get serious about the journey to where God is calling us, we’ll move the multiplication needle.

A disciple aspiring toward Level 5,

Todd