Missional Community Metrics

If you have ever planted a church, pastored a church, or lead a ministry you are familiar with the “how is your church doing?” question from friends, family members, and well-wishers. What I have found is that what people are really asking when they ask this question is, “is your church growing?“. They want to know how many people are coming on Sunday. They want to know if you are “successful”.

I understand this question and do not think it is necessarily a bad one. For many, Sunday is church. But for those committed to planing missional communities, Sundays are just a piece of what it means to be the church. I often find myself struggling to answer when asked how my church is doing or if we are growing because success and growth in missional communities is not directly related to numbers or Sunday attendance.

What I am learning is that missional communities need a new set of metrics to measure ministry success and fruitfulness. Using traditional church metrics for missional communities will leave church planters and missional leaders as frustrated as my one year old son when he cannot get the square peg into the round hole. I know this because I’ve been here….I suspect that you have been here as well.

Within Redeemer, we have been trying to create a new set of appropriate metrics to measure our strengths, weaknesses, and fruitfulness. Here are a some of them:

  1. Are all disciples being rooted in the gospel?
  2. Are disciples living out gospel identity and rhythms?
  3. Are the households within Redeemer properly ordered?
  4. What kind of family are we being?
  5. Are the relationships in the church family characterized by love, brotherhood, mutual acceptance, and respect?
  6. Are ALL disciples actively using their unique gifts in ministry?
  7. How many of our people know their neighbors and are they having them in their homes?
  8. Are people being equipped to minister through their work and in their workplace?
  9. Are there new disciples to baptize?
  10. Do our children see the church a big family or a big building?

This is something that I think we need more discussion on. I would love to hear thoughts from any other MC practitioners out there. How are you measuring success and growth? How do you communicate the excitement of healthy growing disciples, when you are asked the “are you growing?” questions?

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3 thoughts on “Missional Community Metrics

  1. I’m with you on this one Jordan! You articulated the struggle well. We are only three months into the process and are only gathering for worship once a month and I wrestle with this already. People mean well, and they want to know how things are going. When asked, I try to take the opportunity to explain what we are about with our missional communities. I often feel like a broken record, and it can be discouraging when I finish explaining and they ask, “So, have you found a building yet?” I believe that your question #9 is key. As for question #10, last Sunday my 8 year old son brought me a picture he drew during worship that was labeled “my church” and was a drawing of the people without a building. He presented it to me with a big smile because he knew what he was doing. That’s the kind of thing that will keep me going!

  2. I like how Tim Keller discusses measuring the effectiveness of a church plant. All throughout the gospels we find that the measurement criteria for believers is that of “fruit-bearing”. Pretty simple if you think about it. There are several activities that can be listed. You can have several methods and techniques, but the power of the Gospel is that it bears fruit. It’s amazing how the gospel can’t help but to bear fruit. I would recommend Center Church by Tim Keller. I just started the book, and it’s amazing what can happen when the Gospel is at the core of every activity, event, or expression within your MC. Really enjoyed your post, and will be praying for your MC.

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