From W.David Phillips:
“At my last doctoral class with Len Sweet last week, he posed a question to us that went something like this: Provide for me the metaphors that will describe how we measure success in the church in the future. We are prone to measure success by how many and how much. And we determine who is a great leader by how many and how much.
So today, I want to share with you some of the metaphors we listed (and some I came up with afterwards), of things we can count as a measure of success. But I need to issue a warning. You will have to think about these and you may push back unless you realize the metaphor. So don’t react…Ponder…
1. The number of cigarette butts in the church parking lot.
2. The number of adoptions people in the church have made from local foster care.
3. The number of pictures on the church wall of unwed mothers holding their newborn babies in their arms for the first time.
4. The number of classes for special needs children and adults
5. The number of former convicted felons serving in the church
6. The number of phone calls from community leaders asking the church’s advice
7. The number of meetings that take place somewhere besides the church building
8. The number of organizations using the church building
9. The number of days the pastor doesn’t spend time in the church office but in the community
10. The number of emergency finance meetings that take place to reroute money to community ministry
11. The amount of dollars saved by the local schools because the church has painted the walls
12. The number of people serving in the community during the church’s normal worship hours
13. The number of non-religious-school professors worshiping with you
14. The number of people wearing good, free clothes that used to belong to members of the church
15. The number of times the church band has played family-friendly music in the local coffee shop
16. The number of people who have gotten better because of free health clinic you operate
17. The number of people in new jobs thanks to the free job training center you opened
18. The number of micro-loans given by members in your church
19. The number of churches your church planted in a 10 mile radius of your own church
Got any more?”