When church ministers gather and first introduce the conversation is predictable with near 100% certainty: it will include the question 'What size of church do you have?' ! Trust me, I've been there. I have asked the question myself 😞.
Going forward, as we get to come out of lockdown and meet again I think I can confidently give a new prediction! There will be a new question, and it will be: 'How many people connected to your Livestream/Zoom/whatever?'.
This could all be a bit of a nightmare for many of us. And at its worst it means we might have simply swapped our gather-in-building-on-Sunday for a gather-an-audience-online.
It raises the question of 'metrics' - what we measure. The scientist and strategist in me likes metrics - they help us know where we are, and can help chart progress. But that all hinges on having the right metrics.
What if we preferred to try and assess Spiritual impact or development? What if we found a focus on developing depth (in perhaps fewer people), and equipping them to have greater impact in their own spheres of influence? These things are of course hard to measure - much harder than attendees on a Livestream, which your computer will instantly tell you. Do we settle for the easier metrics because they are simply easier, or because they stroke our own ego as leaders?
We live in lockdown times because of a highly contagious destructive virus. Yet as Jesus followers we want to actively spread the apostolic witness to Jesus that brings life. For a virus to spread effectively it needs to replicate well in a host, and then pass on to others. So how about we work out how to measure the effectiveness of replication of the apostolic witness in the people we lead, and the spread-impact that they can go on to achieve?