Welcome to Missions on Point, the Propempo perspective on Church and Missions.
This is Missions on Point episode 139. It's a series on your church missions handbook. This one is number 11 of 12 on missions team metrics. By that I mean, what do we measure and why do we measure? Then what do we do with those metrics, those measurements? There are many Christians out there that don't like to measure anything. They just want to go with the flow and say, "Well, as the Spirit leans," and not particularly pay attention to whatever the numbers are. There are good spiritual kinds of reasons for not being absorbed with numbers. It's more about ministry or relationships and the fruitfulness of effective ministry over the long term. However, if you never measure anything, you really don't know how effective you may be. Information is our friend, so it's a good thing at least annually to do a checkup and find out where you are on some common metrics.
We'll talk about some in just a moment. The first thing I want to talk about is why even look at the metrics at all. We want to get a sense of effectiveness of strengths and of weaknesses. Our purpose as a missions team is to effectively mobilize the congregation, the church body, to be involved in missions. That means we should be able to tell somehow how well we're doing with that. We want to glorify God by effectively and strategically proclaiming the glorious transforming gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. There are some metrics in there that can help us do so for God's glory through the church to all nations. This is the same purpose of God in the Great Commission and the whole Bible. Humanly speaking, it's really difficult to know for sure if we've planted churches in all nations, but God knows and he has put that goal, that benchmark, if you will, out there as our goal to strategically move in such a way that people are taking the gospel, discipling others, forming indigenous local churches in every ethnicity of the Earth.
So what kinds of things do we measure as a missions team? Well, there's sort of three classes here. One is obvious, second is less obvious, and the third I'll call least obvious. The first obvious class of measurements we might look at are what are participation levels of the congregation in various things. Our own church missions profile that you can find online is a wonderful self-assessment tool for measuring how well you're doing in 12 different categories of missions activity in the local church. You can find this church missions profile at sendforward.org and walk through the basic steps of assessing, answering the questions yourself about how well you're doing in these areas, and these areas are decent ones to assess. We've done a whole series of podcasts on the church missions profile, so look it up in your podcast app. Even things such as Biblical foundations. How often do your church leaders teach or have a class that represents missions to the whole congregation in Biblical terms?
Local outreach, which can be both simply participation in evangelistic efforts, but also in cross-cultural efforts that are local to, we'll say your metroplex, at least. Missions education. What opportunities are there? How many classes, how many opportunities, how many people involved in those things as you teach missions specifically? What about church leaders and how they participate? What about the missions team? And then individual participation with regard to people being personally involved in supporting and doing missions? Yes, we're going to talk about keeping track of money, but can you, may you keep track of how many household units are giving to missions? And then what are the giving levels as a whole in comparison to say the general funds of the church? Does missions income equal 5% of the gross income of the church apart from capital building project kind of things or higher? We suggest that the top level for this is 25% of income goes to missions or more.
How many people are actively participating in prayer for missions? These are participation levels. What about how many of the congregations say of young adults and above age have gone on some kind of short-term missions ministry, and then how many people are participating in missionary care for those missionaries and ministries that you support? Are there individuals that are beginning to be missionary candidates? Are you training them? What is the percentage of people going out from your church membership to be missionaries out on a cross-cultural field? In today's world, it might be a really healthy number to say one out of a hundred of the congregation is preparing or going as missionaries. The Moravians' goal from the 15th century of Christian history was 10 out of a hundred, so these most obvious metrics have to do do with participation levels in a variety of context as well as giving levels and then going levels, short-term field visits and new missionaries.
The less obvious category includes the percentage of church members who are participating, giving, going, those kinds of things. It's the number of people who are being trained for missions, the amount of teaching that's being done from the pulpit on Sunday morning as well as special classes or interest groups. And what kind of exposure do people have to missions even around the church facility itself, or is missions material only available off in some dusty corner? Now, the third class or category of things we might measure is the least obvious, and I'd like to spend a little time musing about this. One area has to do with the support and stability and effectiveness and longevity of your own missionaries. That's something you should measure because your church has a stake in that and a part in that. If your missionaries are struggling on the field, if they're writing you emails and newsletters back and saying, "Hey, wow, I don't know if I can make it," that is of great concern to measure and to find out what can we do to improve their lot and their longevity.
It means rallying in a whole different way than just sort of counting the nickels of missions giving and actually doing something about assisting, counseling, advising, even admonishing, helping, encouraging the missionaries out there on the field. Who gets to choose who goes and how many people go. I think it's a worthy goal that the missions team would have some kind of support or encouragement for every elder to visit a missionary on the field during their term of office. Another least obvious metric would be are there any new initiatives to do strategic things for missions toward unreached people groups in your church? Are there little conclaves of people who are praying and actively seeking ways to make it possible for others in the church to be able to go into a new frontier for the gospel?
A really missions healthy church is going to have some spontaneous missions efforts and involvement that don't even involve the planning of the missions team, but people are capturing this vision and running with it to take missions to their neighborhood, to their cross-cultural friends in their workplace or their metroplex, and figuring out how to do that. That is a really important metric to recognize. Maybe your church has a good number of people from a particular ethnicity or language group or region of the world that would love to strategize to reach unreached people from their original country. I have known churches that were oriented that way that every year they wanted some new ideas or some new things popping up in order to build creative access solutions, which often meant that key business people in the church were directly involved in helping establish business platforms for people to go to, otherwise inaccessible creative access kind of places.
Two other things on this least obvious category list. One is influencing other churches. Now, this may not seem like a big deal, but it really is a big deal because if churches would intentionally influence other churches in good ways in missions, have them listen to Missions on Point podcasts, help them to learn how to do missions in a more Biblical ownership kind of way, and the missions ministries would flourish if all the churches got the idea that we have something to do about missions. It's not on the mission agency. It's not up to somebody else. It's up to us. So influencing other churches to have that kind of Biblical ownership and responsibility of the local church's role in missions goes a long way toward influencing and sending more quality missionaries to those unreached areas. That is a metric that would be grand to see go up year by year.
Our church is influencing one other church. Our church and another church are helping influence the whole group of churches that we associate with and fellowship with in our county, in our region of the city, in our region of our denomination, whatever it is, influencing other churches intentionally, maybe even paying the cost of sponsoring a small conference to teach them just what you're doing and what you're learning so that they can do it also. There's great joy in that. The last one is kind of subtle and sometimes hard to speak about, but I have it on my list as endowments. What do I mean by that? Some of the best churches have had such a great long-term passion for missions and solid teaching Biblically on missions and the church's role that as affluent people have moved on or have seen a great vision for helping in this way, they have created financial endowments, grants, basically a trust fund of sorts just to use for missions, even apart from the building fund, the general fund, the youth group, the music, whatever, and people have a vision for seeing missions continue on.
There are a handful of churches that I know of in the states that have been able to support missionaries, 100% of their needed support to go overseas because of the vision of people like that. People who have given investment instruments, endowments from their estate to fund missions. Let me put that in perspective. I venture to say that less than 5% of evangelical churches have an annual church missions event of any kind. Probably only about 5% of those actually have any kind of endowment. That means that it's something like 0.25% of all the evangelical churches have had people with enough vision to say, "We're going to put maximum funding into missions so that our missionaries don't have to go out and raise support all over the place." Now, the last bit to talk about is what do we do with these metrics. Certainly the congregation needs to know and know that there may be a goal in metrics that you measure so that they can kind of bump up the level every year.
They can be involved and be challenged to give a little more, certainly to participate more in meaningful ways for them and their family, ultimately to produce more missionaries and fund them in ways that are honoring to the Lord so that the missionaries don't have a lot of pressure and stress from finances in getting to the field or the operation of missions even in the church and funding the right kind of things so that many people in the church can participate in short term missions or field visits or care for missionaries. Remember now, we're talking about the church mission's handbook overall, so think about what kinds of things you would want to measure or put out there as what things you would measure so that it's a little part of the handbook and you inform the congregation in that way so that they know about it. Letting your congregation and your church leaders know that you're keeping track of some of these things in itself is an incentive to do better, to pray more, to see God do more through your church for the glory of Jesus Christ to all nations.
Thanks for joining us today on Missions On Point. We trust that you'll find more help and resources on our website at propempo.com and missyouserve.org. We are so thankful for those who support us, enabling us to produce this podcast. Now to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever. Amen.
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