I have written lately that we need to change the way we do church, which is the title of a book I am revising to re-release this year. Part of the change is to stop measuring what we normally measure, which has been attendance and the offering total. I had an associate write and ask for clarification on this, and this is what I wrote him today:
You had made a comment about more writing about what we should measure if not money and attendance. Here are today's thoughts from Seth Godin:
Don’t steal metrics
A thoughtful friend has a new project, and decided to integrate a podcast into it.
Talking to a producer, he said that his goal was to make it a “top 10 podcast on iTunes.”
Why is that the goal?
That’s a common goal, a popular goal, someone else’s goal.
The compromises necessary to make it that popular (in dumbing down the content, sensationalizing it, hunting down sort-of-famous guests and doing a ton of promo) all fly in the face of what the project is for.
It’s your project.
It’s worth finding your metrics.
A church will measure what is important to it, so the key is first to identify what is important and then find a way to measure it such as kids returning a second week after visiting once, number of "Amens" during a message (a form of feedback; the Cleveland Orchestra measures standing ovations), the number of givers instead of the offering amount, how many more people gave to missions this year over last year, etc. This is hard work, and sometimes almost impossible to measure, but we must try and then allow our metrics to shift and morph over time.
The old standard of behinds in the seats and dollars in the offering tells us something about what we value. When we change our values, God will then help us find ways to measure what is important to us instead of spinning results to convince ourselves things are not as bad as they really are. We need to change the way we do church!