A few years ago I became certified to use a program called Natural Church Development (NCD). I was attracted to this program because it provides a church some practical insight into how it is doing--specifically how healthy it is in eight key areas that are essential to church growth.
According to NCD, these eight areas include: 1) Empowering leadership; 2) Gift-oriented ministry; 3) Passionate spirituality; 4) Functional structures; 5) Inspiring worship services; 6) Holistic small groups; 7) Need-oriented evangelism; and 8) Loving relationships.
The program gives any church a score in each of these eight areas after 30 people complete an anonymous, 90-question survey. The pastor also has a survey to complete. The scores are generated when I enter the results into the NCD software, which in turn produces a report that gives the church an idea of how they are doing in each of the key areas. NCD recommends that each church identify its minimum factor--the area of the eight with the lowest score--and then to develop a strategy that will address that particular area only.
I got involved with this program for two reasons. First, it gave a church something to work with, since it is so difficult to measure effectiveness when working with people and spiritual things. I also liked that it gave the church something specific to work and focus on after the survey was completed. (If you would like information on using this survey at your church, feel free to email me.)
I am off to a local church this morning to do the survey and will deliver the report to the pastor in a few days. The church may or may not employ me as a coach to help them address their weaknesses after that, but that isn't really necessary--another aspect that attracted me to the program. Jesus knows how to build His church and, if we will just be courageous and face the realities of where we are, He will meet us more than half way to help us grow and develop.
What means do you have to measure your effectiveness, whether personally or in the business or ministry in which you are engaged? Just because it's hard to do doesn't mean that you are exempt from trying. Find something, some metric, that can give you an indication of how you're doing and then take steps to improve and do a better job. It doesn't have to be involved and expensive; you just have to muster the courage to do it.