When I was in the military, I was never a very good marksman. There were no hunters in our family, so I have never handled a weapon and I barely qualified with an M-14 rifle. I could see the target, but I only rarely hit it and I never put in the time and effort to become more proficient. What if I had been willing to put in the time to get better, but I was not sure what my target was?
I often find people who are highly motivated and want to do well, but they are not sure about their target. How do you hit the target if you don’t know what it is? In order to be measured on your success or failure, you have to know what you are trying to achieve.
There are many discussions today about “healthy congregations,” but too little decision about clear targets or objectives. In Missional Renaissance, Reggie McNeal explains that if we really want to adopt a missional paradigm for the church, we are going to have to “change the scorecard”—that is, come up with new targets.
The traditional targets for the church usually deal with church attendance, number of baptisms, and budget receipts. If we adopt a missional paradigm, our priorities will be different. For example, we will probably be more interested in being externally focused and reaching people outside the walls of the church. For another, we will want to see people come to know Christ but we will invest more effort in growing disciples than in filling seats. Both of these targets—being externally focused and growing disciples-- sound good, but how does one go about measuring them?
Since each church has a different missional profile, the scorecard will differ from church to church. Unless we decide what we want to achieve, however, nothing significant will happen. The old business adage says, “What gets measured gets done.” This applies to the church as well.