We Have Been Gauging Church Health All Wrong…
Today’s post is a guest post by Tony Morgan, founder and Chief Strategic Officer of The UnStuck Group.
Recently on Episode 108 of Carey’s leadership podcast, Carey and I discussed why churches get stuck, and how to get your church moving again.
If you listened in, you heard us talk about the importance of understanding the current health of your church. In fact, that’s always the first step in getting unstuck. You cannot move forward until you fully understand where you are today.
Unfortunately, most pastors lack a clear way to measure the health of their churches. They look at the wrong indicators, make an incorrect assessment and later wonder where their plans went wrong. In many cases they went wrong from the very beginning; with an incorrect understanding of their starting point.
Here are four ways I’ve seen pastors measure their church’s health in the wrong ways:
1. The (Biased) Opinions of Others
Each of us wants to be told that we’re doing a great job!
Unfortunately, every individual in your church comes with their own personal preferences, biases and traditions.
It’s hard to get true perspective from a subjective source. We ourselves are no exception.
2. Increasing Weekend Attendance
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about leading more people to Jesus.
Unfortunately, we have a tendency to confuse a fuller room with more life change.
Church health involves more than just getting people to show up.
3. Money in the Bank
In some churches, survival is equated with health. Leaders feel that as long as they can sustain their ministry, they are doing well enough.
It certainly takes money to do ministry. But it’s not about how much you have. It’s about how you are using it strategically to reach more people.
4. Activity. Activity. Activity and (But Wait…There’s More) Activity
In many churches, more activity is equated with more ministry. Leaders will brag about how much they have on the calendar and that the doors of the church are always open.
Unfortunately, Jesus didn’t call us to keep people busy. He called us to lead people into a relationship with Him.
So What Does It Take to Measure Church Health?
If you want to understand the true health of your church, you’ll need an approach with these three qualities:
- Objective: You have to remove opinions to get at the heart of the matter.
- Well-Rounded: Church health doesn’t evidence itself in one area alone. It is based on a wide variety of factors.
- Consistent: To understand the health of your church over time, you must measure it with a replicable approach that can show improvement and decline.
My team at The Unstuck Group has a tool that can help pastors clearly understand the true health of their churches based on 14 key metrics vital to effective ministry.
It benchmarks your ministries based on our experience with 200+ churches, helping you determine where you are healthy and where you are not.
In every situation, church leaders are surprised by something they learn from an objective, well-rounded and consistent assessment. And an assessment is better than hope. Hope is not a strategy.