Sunday, December 28, 2014

Musing on Metrics

A clergy group I belong to on Facebook got started talking about metrics and I chimed in (just a little bit). Thought I'd share some of that here for those who are interested:

"Metrics may not do a good job of telling the whole story, but they tend to tell you if there's a story you should be paying attention to."

"Much of the 3dm approach lends itself to metrics, which I appreciate:

Number of people in huddles.
Number of huddles meeting.
Number of people who are able to lead huddles.
Number of second, third... generation huddles.
Number & generation of Missional Communities."

"One key metric that anyone working in Post-Christendom should be tracking is adult baptisms. I think that one metric is like the canary in the coal mine if we dare to look at it.

For conventional congregations, I went so far as to develop an measure of "Evangelical Effectiveness" based on that: Number of Adult Baptisms per year per 100 people in worship. (Normalizes for the size of the congregation.)

I tried to get that metric placed in use in my Synod years ago - at least as a way of discovering the congregations that are *actually* effective in conversion growth. I was thinking if we knew which ones they were, we might be able to hear their stories and learn from them. Unfortunately, the proposal was met with disinterest and resistance I'm sorry to say.

(You can read more about that on my blog.)

"Going off in another direction... sometimes we measure what we do because it's easier to measure than other things that might be intrinsically more important. Butts and bucks are easy to count & so are adult baptisms for that matter. But we're trying to make disciples and help people *mature* in faith. What could we look at as "metrics" for maturity?

Many people stop pursuing that because they think things like maturity cant be measured. True enough. But they can be *evaluated.* Lots of "squishy" things can be evaluated... you just need to find a way to metri-fy it.

For example, years ago when I was (FINALLY!) getting my depression diagnosed, the doctor gave me a little inventory. "How often do you think about thus-and-such?" "How many times per week do feel XYZ?" and so on. Scaled responses like Never - Rarely - Sometimes - Often - All the time. He *scored* the inventory and that was a part of the diagnosis.

We *could* do discipleship growth assessments... if we dared.

Imagine an assessment about the presence of the following traits in your attitudes and behavior: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness...

Are those things *more evident* this year than when you took the inventory last year?

For the truly courageous, we give the inventory to the five people closest to us and let THEM do the eval!

Ready to have your kids and spouse weigh in on the question "Has (your name here) become more patient over the last year?" Does (name) have more self control?"

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