There are two types of people; those who admit to measuring effectiveness and those who don’t. As long as we are on borrowed time seeking to be stewards of the resources God has given us we need to measure our effectiveness. We just need to be careful that we are measuring the right things. If we don’t intentionally set up a grid to measure effectiveness we will always default back to butts in the seats, dollars in the budget and size of the building.
This is a list of seven questions I ask church planters and encourage them to regularly ask their teams. It’s always helpful to do a self assessment at any phase of a church plant to gauge your effectiveness. While we think our people, especially our leaders, magically “get it” this often isn’t the case. I encourage you to interview more than a handful of people of influence in your church to get an accurate picture of both the effectiveness and clarity of your church.
1. How would you describe the DNA of our church to a new person? DNA is a hard thing to clarify, let alone to put into words. Make sure your people have an accurate description of who the church is and what is innately “you”.
2. What is our target group, and how well are we reaching them? Most churches want to reach everyone in their city. This fervor can lead to a weighty vision with a flimsy strategy to support it. I have seen the target group of a church plant change over time, and this is okay, but make sure it goes through a process of clarification. Then you can rebuild strategies to reach those people.
3. What are our mission, vision and values, and exactly how do we embody these? Most church plants state these “big 3” at the beginning, and fail to do the hard work of reinforcing them month in and month out. You can never overemphasize your mission, vision and values. The proof is in the pudding; if your people don’t know these they can’t embody them.
4. What are healthiest and most dysfunctional areas of our church? Be prepared for critical feedback here, but also be prepared for some brilliant insights. You are looking for similarities and redundancy here, not to cater to pet projects. The closer we are to the center of the organization the more we become fish who don’t know we’re in water. These questions can give your people permission to continue the feedback loop and help be part of the solutions.
5. Which areas of our church are we most effectively embodying the Gospel to our community? Most churches develop yearly service events that can become sacred cows. These might or might not actually be dripping a Gospel presence in the community. Most churches also fail to realize a few incredible things their people at the fringes are doing in the community. Analyzing your community involvement will help the pruning process of avoiding the good things and only doing the best things.
6. What does our church consistently celebrate? What we celebrate tells a lot about us. Make sure your church family is celebrating the things that reinforce your DNA. You should always be looking for new ways to celebrate the best things in your church in every gathering. Every time your leaders gather you should allow space for them to share the victories they are celebrating.
7. What are the biggest gaps in our church? This question can often lead to collective realizations of things your team needs to address. Asking this question can help your team clarify a preferred future and create strategies to fill in the gaps.
Every person and every church is in process. Churches daring enough to invite their people to ask the hard questions can be headed for breakthrough. While we never arrive at success, we do turn corners of effectiveness. Is your church humble enough to face the facts and make mid-course corrections?