Should churches measure impact?
Should a church focused on spiritual pursuits identify metrics and put in place tools to assess impact in their church?
This is one of the biggest questions many churches grapple with today. While measurement is treated as part of organizational management everywhere else, in the church, some leaders can be hesitant to want to quantify impact, believing instead that success in the church related to spiritual growth may not be able to be measured by standard means.
We beg to differ. We believe that if churches are to grow and be good stewards of the role and resources that God has entrusted them with, we can and must measure impact.
To establish whether church activities are helping people mature
A lot of activities go on in the church. From prayer groups to Sunday school and Bible studies, the week is often very active in most churches. The question we need to ask is whether these activities are actually benefiting church members and moving them forward in their walk with Christ. The good news is that it is a question that can be answered.
To evaluate how well we’re using our God-given resources
Resources such as time, energy, our gifts, and even the money given from church members, are only available in limited quantities. We are accountable to God for how we use these resources. Active measurement allows us to identify how well we’re using our resources. It is wise, in this way, to measure impact.
When we measure impact it brings clarity
We all have personal goals, and church often has goals for growth and impact. When setting up the church or creating a special mission, we’re doing so with a purpose. How can we stay on the path to these goals without taking stock of our progress in an intentional way? How can we know if we’ve taken a wrong turn? It’s very easy to lose sight of purpose. Measurement allows us to see if we are inline with our vision. A church survey tool like Vital Assessment makes this possible.
Evaluation can inform decision-making
Closely related to measuring clarity is the potential for informing decision-making. When an assessment can reveal trustworthy and detailed feedback about impact, we can translate that feedback into necessary actions. We like to say it’s good to be “data informed” not “data driven.” The feedback we receive can inform our decision-making, not dictate it. Think of it like indicator lights on a dashboard to provide readings of health and progress. Of course, in our work with people, the feedback cannot be perfectly objective, but it can be sufficient to let us know if a particular ministry or initiative is achieving its desired purpose.
Today, churches have an opportunity to identify and measure what is happening. Tools like the Vital Impact Assessment offer a rich method to survey and obtain actionable data. Built by church leaders along with statistical research experts, VIA offers a unique and valuable way to measure what matters.