A New Scorecard?

Erik Cooper —  March 6, 2009 — 4 Comments

One of the topics I’ve seen flying around many of the blogs and feeds I follow is the question, “does the church need a new scorecard?”  It spawns a great, thought-provoking dialog, and one I’m very interested in since I’ve just co-planted a brand new church in downtown Indianapolis.  Last Monday morning, the day after our launch, the questions were predictable:

How many showed up?”
How much was in the offering?”
How many salvations?”

It’s the typical stuff, and it’s not so much that it’s wrong to ask or that those issues aren’t important (or are they?).  It’s just that this checklist has become our scorecard and I think it may measure the wrong thing, or at best push things of lesser importance to the top of the list.  So how do we “keep score?”

This morning I met with one of my newest friends, Dr. Mike Elmore.  Mike has spent the past few years developing his passion and personal plan for mentoring people towards real & positive life-change.  He threw a couple of questions at me, things he looks for in those he’s mentoring, and it got me wondering if maybe these wouldn’t be the beginnings of a dialog that could lead to a better gauge for our “success” as a church.

  • What does my spouse or significant other say about me to others (unsolicited)?
  • What do I talk about?  Is the reality and activity of God in my life evident in the way I speak?
  • Have I shown a shift from self-focused to others-focused?
  • Have I shown a change in my attitude towards adversity in my life?
  • Do I have a desire for solitude with God?
  • Have I progressively shown more positive interaction in relationships with others?
  • Do I have a passion to serve humanity?
  • Have I displayed an increased submission to God in decisions that I make?

Honestly, these things can’t be quantified in a graph or Excel spreadsheet.  They’ll show up in relationships.  In dialog.  In real stories from real lives.  But at the end of the day, these questions dig into the things that really matter.  I’m not sure what it all means or what we do with it, but I know the church I’m called to co-lead needs a different filter.  A new scorecard.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…

4 responses to A New Scorecard?

  1. His are great questions to show how people are growing. Like you said, hard to quantify but the ultimate goal no doubt.

    The “scorecard” questions are based on the church’s opportunity to impact people towards those ends. Obviously if many show up, but few are changed then we’ve failed. But I would argue if few show up, but ARE changed, perhaps we’ve failed as well. At least failed to reach a broader impact. In other words, we want to have maximum impact on as large a number of people as possible. We have to be strategic in how we do that– Jesus invested deeply into the 12, but he taught & fed the 5000 as well. He wanted his ministry to impact as many as possible in his day, but also knew if he invested himself into deep change among the disciples, he would reach the whole world.

    So I think the original scorecard is still a good preliminary measure of our effectiveness. It’s like the first inning, not the 7th inning stretch. I would add to the scorecard of attendance, offering, and salvations– how many people are engaging in bible study & fellowship together through small groups, etc…

  2. This is a good thought. A different filter is good. One thing that caught my ear was the question regarding the number of salvations. I think we can agree that repeating a prayer doesnt mean that person is now saved. In fact it is irresponsible that a pastor would proclaim that. The evidence of a changed heart and a newly found hatred for sin is what we should be looking for. The sinners prayer is poor evangelism because many people think that they are good to go with God when in reality God has NOT actually began the new work in their heart which He promised to do when a person is genuinely saved. Please keep your mind on this thought when you pray for people that a few minutes of conversation and a short prayer does not ensure a genuine repentance of sin and a rebirth into salvation.

  3. This is the best list of how we should evaluate our effectiveness that I have seen for a long time. I get so frustrated with the triumphalism of big churches big numbers and little commitment. Thanks for making me aware of this

  4. You’re so right. We’ve got to change the scorecard and the way we define “success” for a weekend event. How can you put a number to the seeds that were planted? How can you chart the questions that people are asking themselves as a result of the message? How can you quantify the life change that is occurring because someone’s heart was touched by the Holy Spirit?

    God is moving. It’s just that sometimes we want to tack “human” metrics and quantifiable results to what He is doing instead of realizing that God’s ways and thoughts are so much different than ours (Isaiah 55:8).

    Praying for you guys and the work God is doing through CityCom!

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