Sunday, February 24, 2013

Evaluating Discipleship - Head, Hand and Heart

Some recent conversation about evaluating ministry in a Facebook group got quickly bogged down in typical struggles. Butts in pews and bucks in the offering plate can be measured, but don't tell the story etc. I brought a different perspective in these words:

"Most of what we are talking about evaluating (whether numerically or otherwise) are, I think, merely proximate targets. They are *close* to what's important, but not the thing itself. If our goal is to make disciples, then our real evaluations should be on the actual traits that describe such people. For convenience (and alliteration) I like to use three categories: Head (knowledge), Hand (practices), and Heart (attitudes). As it turns out, I think those are listed in order of ease of evaluation, and in reverse order of importance. If we never get around to really assessing how we are doing in shaping people into 
Christ-likeness in those three dimensions, then I assert we never really know if we are being effective or not.
...and to anticipate a question, yes, you certainly can have a meaningful evaluation for "Heart" factors e.g. love, joy, peace, patience etc. I myself have taken depression inventories, which are a reverse indicator of joy in a way. Also, spouses can be readily enlisted to provide evaluations along these lines: "Honey... I've been attending church for a year now. Do I seem more kind or patient to you?" (I'm thinking that last bit was probably only 5% facetious. Maybe less.)"


Feral Pastor said...


"Some things can be assessed "from a distance": worship attendance, giving, hours of service, numbers in small groups. Other things require you to be close enough for conversation: how's your heart? Joyful? Peaceful? Generous? If our evaluations don't require us to interact with people directly, they are probably not very meaningful."

Anonymous said...

I liked something I heard on Christian radio this morning might point to a useful time based "heart" measure. The quote was, "If you really want to help your church (of all forms and reflections)spend more time praying for it. If you really want to transform your life, spend more time in the Word. So for the sake of discussion, would you consider changing your last sentance a bit by replacing the word "people" with "God"?
JB from CG

Feral Pastor said...

Perfect place to invoke the ever-popular "both/and" meme. ;)