Are you measuring what matters?

Posted: November 4, 2010 by efenster in Ideas

  Some say what you measure is what matters.  What does your church measure?  Worship attendance?  It’s budget figures?  It’s number of professions of faith?  

Gil Rendle, an independent church consultant, challenged pastors at an April 2010 Large Church Initiative in San Antonio, TX, to learn from Edwards Deming’s simple system theory regarding how they measure their churches’ effectiveness.  The theory says that in a system the “inputs” (resources) plus “through puts” (actions) result in the “outputs” (desired outcomes).

Rendle points out that when an organization isn’t clear about its desired outcomes–in the United Methodist church’s case “transformed disciples and communities”–it measures its inputs rather than its outputs.  For example, its number of people, its finances (including amount of tithe paid), its number of small groups, etc.  These, however, are really the inputs (resources), not the desired outcomes–changed lives and communities. 

He goes on to point out that when an organization (i.e. our churches) isn’t clear about its outcomes, not only do they measure their inputs but they measure them from a scarcity mindset–what they lack.  “We don’t have enough members!  We don’t have enough money!” 

Tired of such comments?  Then begin focusing your church on measuring the real objective of our mission–changed lives and communities.  How you specifically do this will vary from church to church because each has its own context.  So how would you measure it in your setting?  — Ed Fenstermacher

To hear all of Gil Rendle’s presentation on this topic go to


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