Church Planting Metrics: Measure What’s Important (Part Two)

Measure outcomes, not activities.

Read Church Planting Metrics: Measure What’s Important, Part One (The Problem of Measurement Inversion; Defining and Measuring “Healthy Church”; Is Your Organization Suffering from Measurement Inversion?).

Define the Object of Measurement (i.e., Church)

As mentioned above, the end goal for church planters should be a biblically healthy church. The target “biblically healthy church,” however, is too vague to be observed and quantified. The design team needs to take the target and deconstruct it into sub-targets and observable indicators.

Sub-targets are the components that characterize biblically healthy churches. They don’t describe church planting activities, but rather results of those activities. The list of sub-targets, when taken together, should be an accurate description of a healthy church without going beyond the biblical definition of church. The design team prepares a draft list of sub-targets, which they revise and rewrite as they receive input from leaders and practitioners. To keep the list of sub-targets manageable, the final list should be as short as possible (e.g., seven or fewer sub-targets).

The following questions can serve as a guide for the design team as they define sub-targets:

  1. Is the sub-target a description of an outcome (rather than an activity)?
  2. Is the sub-target an essential and irreducible component of a healthy church?
  3. Taken together, do the identified sub-targets comprise an adequate description of a healthy church, or are other components still missing?
  4. Does any sub-target go beyond what is biblical (i.e., do they reflect the organization’s traditions or cultural idiosyncrasies)?

One can think of sub-targets as a success checklist; when the condition is achieved, …

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