A friend and mentor wrote a short blog post today about measuring success in a kingdom-purposed organization. Dr. Scott Rodin writes:
“Consider the ways that organizations talk about themselves and measure success. While not-for-profit ministries may pride themselves on leading with mission-focused accomplishments, true success is almost always measured in financial terms. Pastors talk to other pastors about the size of their congregation, the success of the latest building project and whether they’re giving has gone up or down. Presidents of Christian schools, colleges and universities speak to alumni in terms of growing enrollment, new academic buildings and an increasing endowment. Owners of businesses speak to shareholders about profits, reinvestment and share prices. And for each of these, whether the pastor of a small church, the president of a community not-for-profit organization or the owner of a growing business, the financial success of their respective organization reflects heavily on their own self-image and reputation.”
You can read entire post here.
I read this post right on the heals of reading a chapter today from Hugh Halter’s Tangible Kingdom, in which Hugh challenges the paradigm of Christian success. He builds a case for how we measure outcomes of faith, values, relationships, influence and success. It’s the success metrics I’m most interested in, because both Scott and Hugh are pushing in the same direction. Hugh charts his case for success on page 78:
Our metrics for success in church and para-church work is changing. I see a revolution, a sort of healthy rebellion against the product-oriented (or postmodern justification) organizations of yesteryear and the expectations of transformation from what Hugh and others are calling the “missional” church.
We’ve wrestled with this at both organizations I work with, Rooftop 519 and Desert Foursquare Church. Both organizations quantify very different things that are important, like the number of kids we help bring to healing or the number of people who attend a service. But these are not the key metrics. Hugh sums up Christian transformation in the last words of the “Paradigm” chapter:
“These people will be making eternity attractive by how they live such selfless lives now, and will be modeling life in a New Kingdom in ways that will make it easy for other people to give it a try. People like this aren’t desperate to convert everyone; they are desperate to be like Christ and to be where Christ is. Their heartbeat (sic) to be transformed into the image of Christ, and to pray and work for little specks of transformation in everyone and everything they touch. Success is faithfulness. The rest is up to God.
Those last few words really get me going. Measuring transformation in everyone and everything. Dr. Rodin concludes his blogs with this thought, “He seeks our obedience and faithfulness, not financial success.” That could sound to some like a cop-out, to me it sounds like a rally cry.