Douglas Hubbard has written How to Measure Anything, Finding the Values of Intangibles in Business. While primarily written about business intangibles, I believe it has application to church planting as well. Traditionally we have measured the “Killer B’s” (buildings, butts and bucks). While those may be easiest, they may not be the most important measures. A couple years ago, Bill Hybels had the courage to measure whether Willow Creek was actually making disciples, a risky venture, but one for which we are indebted.
However, many, especially in the missional movement, balk at measuring the easy things and so refuse to measure at all. I believe that the difference a church makes can be measured, if we are willing to take the time and have the guts to measure.
Here is Hubbard’s logic:
- If it makes a difference—it is observable.
- If it is observable—it is measurable.
- If it is measurable and makes a difference—it ought to be measured for effectiveness and reproducibility.
Translated into church planting it goes like this:
- If your new church is really making a difference—you should be able to see a difference somewhere.
- If you can see a difference in people, the community, or ??, then the difference is measurable by some means.
- If it is measurable, it should be measured to see whether it is effective for the Kingdom and to help others reproduce it instead of having to re-invent the wheel.
To paraphrase James 2:14-19, “Don’t tell me that faith is an internal intangible, instead show me your works, (which are observable and hence measurable) and I’ll use that as a measure of your faith.”
If you think your church plant is making a difference, measure it and then reproduce it. If it’s really as good as you think it is, it needs to be shared, but to be shared, it must be reproducible. Your challenge is to figure out what is really important. Let’s figure out what that is.