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How Do You Measure Success?

David Phillips has a provocative post over at Backyard Missionary on "Re-imagining Success".

Here starts off his post recollecting a recent doctoral class he had with Len Sweet.

... he (Len Sweet) posed a question to us that went something like this: Provide for me the metaphors that will describe how we measure success in the church in the future. We are prone to measure success by how many and how much. And we determine who is a great leader by how many and how much.

So today, I want to share with you some of the metaphors we listed (and some I came up with afterward), of things we can count as a measure of success. But I need to issue a warning. You will have to think about these and you may push back unless you realize the metaphor. So don’t react…Ponder…

1. The number of cigarette butts in the church parking lot.
2. The number of adoptions people in the church have made from local foster care.
3. The number of pictures on the church wall of unwed mothers holding their newborn babies in their arms for the first time.
4. The number of classes for special needs children and adults
5. The number of former convicted felons serving in the church
6. The number of phone calls from community leaders asking the church’s advice
7. The number of meetings that take place somewhere besides the church building
8. The number of organizations using the church building
9. The number of days the pastor doesn’t spend time in the church office but in the community
10. The number of emergency finance meetings that take place to reroute money to community ministry

This post certainly has got me thinking.


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