Growing Numerically vs Growing Spiritually in a New Church: Part II

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Last week I asked the question: How important are numbers in church planting? How closely should we be tracking metrics like number of visitors; Sunday collection; conversions and new members? What follows are my reflections on these important questions.

First, we need to state the obvious. Numerical growth in a new church is essential. If a new church isn’t growing, it won’t be a new church for very long. Enough said. So, what metrics are important to track and in what context should we use these metrics?

The way we use metrics at the bridge is guided by our understanding of the Church. One of the most influential books I’ve read is: Missional Church: A Vision for the Sending of the Church in North America. Author Darrell Guder defines the Church as: “the people of God who are called and sent to re-present the reign of God. This vocation is rooted in the good news, the gospel: in Jesus Christ the reign of God is at hand and is now breaking in.”

At the bridge, we believe that the purpose or goal of our new church should be to participate in God’s mission for the world and not simply to establish a new denominational franchise in a rapidly growing area of the country. So the focus of our staff. our leadership team, our resources, our small groups and our worship are directed toward helping people to represent Jesus Christ to their neighbors and join in God’s mission for the world.

Thus, the metrics we chose to use at the bridge are in service to God’s mission instead of ways to track the growth of the institution. Yet, these metrics also pay attention to factors essential for our existence. Below you will find our metrics for the summer and fall of 2014. They revolve around our emerging mission statement: The mission of the bridge is to connect seekers with God’s passion, people and purpose for your life.

I’d welcome your comments on these metrics. We don’t believe we have the metrics thing figured out just yet, but we hope our trajectory is moving in a faithful, missional direction while recognizing the essential nature of certain metrics.

  1. Faith Stories

Knowing that numerical indices have a limited ability to measure a church’s effectiveness, we believe faith stories (shared by members of the bridge) help determine how the Holy Spirit is transforming lives. We will track and share the faith stories which are shared in small groups and in worship.
TRAJECTORY: Our goal is to have faith stories being shared in worship twice a month by our August 17th big launch.

2. Mission Involvement
As a way of determining our ability to help people connect with God’s purpose in their life, we will track participation in the small group mission projects and other mission projects.
TRAJECTORY: We hope to have been involved in 5 mission projects within Northern Brunswick, Co by the end of August.

3. Children’s Ministry Participation

As a way of determining our ability to help children connect with God’s passion, people and purpose, we will track participation in our children’s ministry
TRAJECTORY: We hope to have 8 – 10 children actively involved in our children’s ministry by the end of August.

4. Small Group Participation

As a way of determining our ability to help people connect with God’s people in their life, we will track participation in Sermon-Based Small Groups
TRAJECTORY: We are already exceeding our goal for this area. We hope to build on this great launch.

5. Worship Attendance

As a way of determining our ability help people connect with God’s passion for their life, we will track weekly worship attendance
TRAJECTORY: We would like to average between 30 – 60 people in Sunday worship until our big launch weekend in August. We hope to grow to 80 in average attendance by Advent season.

6. Social Media

As a way of determining our ability to reach people with the good news, we will track ‘hits’ on the website, followers on Facebook and Twitter.
TRAJECTORY: We are exceeding our goals so far. We would like to double our metrics by the end of year.

7. Weekly Generosity

As a way of determining one measure of congregational commitment to the mission, we will track weekly giving
TRAJECTORY: We would like have a system of online giving in place by the ‘big launch’. We will have a line item budget in place by the end of August. We would like to average ___________ per week by the end of the year.

I’d appreciate the feedback of those reading this post. I hope this will lead to a good conversation that will strengthen our Lord’s efforts to grow the Kingdom.

Dr. Doug

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