Changing the Scorecard for the Church
“The typical church scorecard (how many, how often, how much) doesn’t mesh with a missional view of what the church should be monitoring in light of its mission in the world. The current scorecard rewards church activity and can be filled in w/o reference to the church’s impact beyond itself”
from the introduction to Reggie McNeal’s Missional Renaissance: Changing the Scorecard for the Church. This book outlines the shifts that must take place to make the church in America a missional movement again. The book is also full of ideas of how to engage in making these shifts. He admits to not having the silver bullet, but Missional Renaissance provides great insight for next generation ministries. I read this book when it first came out and its been bugging me ever since. The ideas are provocative and thrilling and now more and more leaders are coming to the conclusion that our measurements must change. Much is being written about this right now. Others that I’ve read and been helped by are Transformational Church by Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer, On the Verge by Dave Ferguson and Alan Hirsch, and Barefoot Church by Brandon Hatmaker. This is a great conversation for us to have, so grab McNeal’s book and be provoked. Here’s the three shifts he suggests with a few of my fav quotes:
Shift #1: From an Internal to an External Ministry Focus. The missional church engages the community beyond its walls because it believes that is why the church exists.
- Moving to an external focus pushes the church from doing missions as some second-mile project into being on mission as a way of life.
- Internal focus is to define effectiveness by church activity and whatever it takes to be a “full-service” church.
- Externally focused means seeing ourselves as a CONNECTOR not the DESTINATION. Like an airport is a place of connection, not a destination. It’s job is to help people get somewhere else. When church sees itself as the destination the scorecard gets confused.
Shift #2: From Program Development to People Development. Moving away from the assumption that people are better off if they just participate in certain activities and processes that the church or organization has sanctioned.
- We’re learning that there is no necessary correlation between time logged sitting in pews or chairs at church and attaining Christlikeness in mindset and mission or purpose.
- a new scorecard celebrates investments in people, not just programs, and cheers breakthroughs in people’s lives, not just organizational achievement.
- McNeal’s question: “Are people better off for being a part of this church, or are they just tireder and poorer?
Shift #3: From Church-based to Kingdom-based Leadership. …thinking of kingdom impact more than church growth.
- Church based leadership is institutional, maintenance-oriented, positional, church-focused, and highly controlling.
- Kingdom leadership is organic, disruptive, prophetic, kingdom-focused, empowering.
- Kingdom leadership focuses on people development not program management and event production.
- Good questions for church leaders: Does your call revolve around a mission or a job? Have we minimized the call of God down to a guaranteed employment contract and a regular paycheck?
A few of my favorite quotes:
- The true vitality of a congregation rests in the abundant lives of its participants and in the blessed lives in the community it serves.
- To think and live missionally means seeing all of life as a way to be engaged with the mission of God in the world.
- We must change our ideas of what it means to develop a disciple, shifting the emphasis from studying Jesus and all things spiritual in an environment protected from the world to following Jesus into the world to join him in his redemptive mission.
- Missional followers of Jesus don’t belong to a church. They are the church. The missional church is not a what, but a who.
- Our job is not to “do church” well but to be the people of God in an unmistakable way in the world. Our “thereness” is what the world needs.
- Number of growing relationships with people who are not Jesus followers or church people.
- Number of personal relationships with community leaders.
- Number of venues for interpersonal service in the community each month.
- Number of hours in personal service in the community each month.
- Number of life-coaching relationships.
- Number of external, missional experiences and stories used in speaking and writing.