What Are the New Measurements of a Successful Church?

10 Benchmarks of a Healthy Missional Church

No one sets out to have or lead an unhealthy church or ministry. But often we find ourselves stuck in a loop of numbers and metrics that we may have inherited or are imposed on us by the “higher-ups”.

The 3 Bs

For a long time now, churches have often or only measured three things I call the “3Bs”: Butts (attendance on Sunday); Building size; and Budgets. Hmmm… I wonder how Jesus’ ministry career would measure up to these three benchmarks?

Click Here to Get my Free eGuide that includes:
10 Missional Benchmarks Test, Assessment & this Manuscript

Butts in seats. Sure Jesus could draw a crowd, usually around healings and massive meal times, yet he primarily spent the bulk of his leadership energy and time with only a dozen people. In the modern church Jesus would not get a great score here and would probably not get that promotion up the ladder.

Sorry Jesus.

Building size. Well, Jesus never owned a home or built a church building, and most often he taught his disciples in the rhythms of normal everyday life over meals, on the road etc.

Gonna have to give Jesus a zero on this one.

Budget. When Jesus sent his disciples out with no money, food or extra clothing (Luke 9:3) he was teaching them that his Father can and always provides for that which He has called us to. Even when there was a little extra cash around Jesus let a traitor hold the offering baskets.

Who hired this Jesus guy?!

Jesus was immeasurably the most successful person in human history. In every way. Yet, if we were to measure his lifetime effectiveness using today’s current standards, he would probably find it hard to get hired on at most churches.

“If we measure the same old things we will fund and build the same old church.” Click To Tweet

Question: What if we had new tools to measure health and success in the church or in a missional community? What if we watched over and prioritized the same things Jesus did?

Here are 10 benchmarks of a healthy missional church:

Growth in…

  1. The number of mature disciples being made. Disciples make disciples; they don’t just hang out or sit in rows together once a week.
  2. The number of relationships with not-yet-believers. Is the relational base among those who are not a part of our church growing? Are we moving beyond a tight “holy huddle” and building true, meaningful relationships?
  3. Gospel display in and through culture. Is our physical proclamation of the gospel expanding through serving others, especially the “least of these”? Is the Good News demonstrated as good news for today?
  4. Gospel conversations taking place naturally. Is our verbal proclamation of Good News increasing? Are folks growing in their gospel fluency? Does the gospel come up naturally and often?
  5. The number of indigenous leaders being developed. Are new leaders, teachers and preachers coming to faith through your ministry or are you often hiring from outside the “family”?
  6. Multiplication of missional/discipleship communities. Healthy things grow and if we are making disciples who make disciple the number of our missional communities will be quickly expanding.
  7. Ministry “ownership” levels going up among the saints. Are our people increasingly, willingly taking on the responsibility for every area of life and ministry as a community or congregation?
  8. 5-Fold Maturity. Are there maturing leaders being allowed to lead in all five of the key giftings that are outlined in Ephesians 4: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers? This is KEY to maturity throughout the entire church!
  9. Priest-hood of all believers engaged in every area of ministry and mission. Another thing we learn from Ephesians 4 is that leaders are to equip the saints for the ministry and acts of service. Leaders are not to be doing all of the ministry. Look across your church or community. Who is doing most of the teaching, preaching, counseling, strategic planning etc.? Is it paid or non-paid people? Is it mostly men? What about the women? What about teens and kids?
  10. People “sent” to start new works / new church plants. It should be the most normal thing for a church or missional community to be sending their folks out to start new communities. Are we “raising the kids to move out”?

Click Here to Get my Free eGuide that includes: 10 Missional Benchmarks Test, Assessment & this Manuscript

Multiplication ALWAYS beats addition!

If the ways in which we are teaching, preaching and making disciples is not being easily reproduced to the third or fourth generation and beyond, the next best time to rethink our methods and measurements is now. We always focus on what we measure. What are you measuring?

Tell me some of your most valuable measurements of health and success. Let me know in the comments below, or if you want to push back or ask me questions, leave them here too.