How many. How well.

We have a dashboard at work. It’s what we use to keep track of what’s happening. We update it monthly for a leadership team. As we do every year, we’re looking at revising the dashboard. We want to be sure we are keeping track of what matters in ways that are informative.

Some revisions are cosmetic (font size). Some are because of success (We paid off the mortgage last year.) But the question remains, what are the indicators that should be included to show a church’s health?

A couple key questions came to mind the other day: How many? and How well? There are other measures: how much, how often, how consistently, how joyfully, how thoughtfully, how routinely. But the first two are core.

How many is easy. How many people are showing up for events? How many people are going outside our walls to help? How many people have been baptized? How many people have become connected to our community?

Those are important measures. They help us evaluate how much toilet paper to buy, how many people need to be in the nursery at which service times.

And they are easy to collect.

It’s much hard to assess how well. How well are we teaching those people who show up for events? How well are we explaining baptism? How well are we doing our collective part in equipping people?

How many is a measure of seats. How well is a measure of souls. How many is counted on fingers. How well is counted on lives.

I don’t think that this is an either/or kind of conversation. I’m not interested in saying one is more important than the other. I do think, however, that spending the energy to figure out some way of describing how well will be worthwhile.

More on dashboards: Measuring up