I’ve never met a devoted ministry leader who truly believes it’s all about the numbers. But tracking metrics on your ministry isn’t bad – it’s actually helpful in so many ways. How many people did you connect with this week? How many people are showing up for worship regularly? How many new converts have there been this year? Numbers are good because they represent people. God cares about the individual; therefore, we too, do our best, using every tool at our disposal, to strive toward excellence in reaching out to people.
I recently ran across this quote in a little book called 20 Simple Shortcuts to Small Business Success:
“You attract what you track.”
When you think about it, the numbers that are in your mind – that you keep track of, typically go the way you want them to. It’s not that you begin being number hungry, compulsive about numbers, or falsely trying to make it seem better than it is, but you are truly in tune to those numbers and which way they are going.
Take for example, the budget. Most of the time, your personal or church budget, when tracked, will wind up turning out okay at the end of the year. Why? Because it’s on your mind. You see the hard numbers month after month. There are typically several layers of accountability. In other words, there are more than just your eyeballs on the numbers. As a result, you begin to attract the needed resources to help things turn out okay financially.
Try this little experiment. Set some number goals for various aspects of your work and ministry for the month. Maybe it’s a certain number of people signing up for a new class or program. Maybe it’s student attendance at an event. Maybe it’s worship attendance or the number of people you plan to serve through one of the ministries in your church.
Once you set this goal for the month, you will find that you don’t have to rearrange your work schedule or add some big new thing in your life to accomplish it. In fact, with this metric goal in mind, your available time will naturally gravitate toward activities that move your organization more toward this goal.
When thinking about lining up your day, those to-do list items most likely to generate new invitations, new connections and ministry growth, will naturally drift toward the top of your priority list. These goals help you determine your best course of action on any given day.
Bill Easum alluded to this concept in his book Effective Staffing For Vital Churches. He spoke of the pastor, for churches under 500 in average attendance, being out of the office, connecting with people, and engaged in ministry in the community. The only goal was to grow the church by making new connections. The other, institutional aspects to the ministry, had to be done by others. Because of this focus, the goal was met.
We attract what we track. Take a minute today to set a few number goals in your ministry for this month. You don’t have to tell anyone if you don’t want to, but write it down. Then ask the question, what do I need to do today to get to this point? You will be surprised by the clarity this brings.
I’ve often used the phrase, “What’s calendared gets accomplished.” Now, I’m adding this one to my list of mantras – “You attract what you track.”
Don’t base your success on ministry numbers, but don’t throw out this great motivational tool either.
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” – Col. 3:17