Obviously measurements of effectiveness will vary greatly depending on your end goals, and your location. If church planting is your goal, it will occur faster in Latin America than in the Arab world. Ultimately you will measure effectiveness by whether or not your team is reaching its end goals, such as the beginning of a church planting movement. However, in many cases your ultimate goals may be years away from completion. In fact, some missionaries have spent entire careers without seeing any visible fruit. Was such a career a failure? Actually, many if not most church planting movements’ burst of breakthrough can be traced to those who set the stage by long and lonely careers of faithfulness in the midst of discouraging results.
Given the potentially lengthy amount of time needed to reach large goals, you’ll likely measure effectiveness by accomplishing foundational tasks along the way that are necessary for the long haul. Using an ultimate goal of a church planting movement, for example, key goals along the way might include:
- Are we mastering the language?
- Have we found a person of peace?
- Are we praying consistently (possibly defined by an amount of time, or a fixed time for team prayer)?
- Are we sowing abundantly (possibly defined by a number per week)?
- Are national leaders emerging?
In his book Church Planting Movements, David Garrison lists some of these and other common factors present in most church planting movements.
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