I believe we’re all wired in such a way we want to know if what we’re doing is impacting others’ lives. Whether you work in the business sector or in ministry, we all want to know if we are being successful. Often in a ministry context success is defined by fulfilling the mission God has entrusted to us to accomplish.
But, often times it's difficult to qualify or quantify success. Typically, ministry success is measured by budgets, buildings, baptisms, and butts in seats. Sprinkle in a few stories of life change and voilà - success! There are few worse things than that feeling of not knowing if you’re making an eternal difference in the lives of those you lead. What if there was a better way to measure success? What if there was another way to establish a feedback loop that encourages stories and gives a real-time snapshot of where people are spiritually?
What started out three years ago as response to institute annual membership affirmation turned into a full-scale spiritual health operation. I created a tool called a Spiritual Health Assessment for our church to evaluate core areas of discipleship: personal spiritual practices and habits; small group community health; serving habits and gifting.
The most frequent question asked about the assessment process is: “What do you do with all the data you collect?”
At least five things happen with the data:
Identify new servant leaders. Because participants self-identify their skills, passions, and expertise, we have the ability to follow-up with them about serving inside and outside the church.
Provide accountability for next steps through intentional follow-up. Throughout the assessment participants are asked to identify their next steps. Participants receive a phone call from their ministry leader if they desire a follow-up phone call. Approximately 3-months later a letter is sent reminding them to take action on their next right steps.
Discern trends for future teaching series. Stepping back to look at the data from a 30,000 foot view, ministry leaders discern trends and create teaching series topics.
Collect life change stories for sharing. Because participants are encouraged to share stories of where they have experienced God's work in their lives over the past year, stories are collected for future blogs, social media posts, and creative storytelling.
Cultivate self-awareness leading to ownership. Perhaps the single greatest gift the assessment offers is to the participant. The assessment serves as a catalyst moving participants from being a spectator of their own faith to taking ownership of it. Asking participants questions about their spiritual practices forces them to think deeply about things they’ve haven’t spent much time thinking about, and when they slow down enough to assess themselves, they begin to see where God is working and where they'd like to see God move.
There is no perfect spiritual health assessment, but there is wisdom to be found in Peter Drucker, who said: “What gets measured gets improved.” I’d like to hear know more about your church's metrics and how you define and measure spiritual health. Leave a comment below or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Let’s talk about how we can better understand where our people are at spiritually, and then take steps to do something to help them grow this year.