Administration is the skeletal frame upon which your church multiplication efforts will grow. It is not my personal strength, but thankfully I’ve been around those who are good at it. Today, I will address some of the basics of keeping score, measuring success, handling information, and making administrative decisions.
Administration involves counting, and counting has deep biblical roots. A friend of mine often said, “We hold people accountable, because people count.” Others have pointed out that we always measure what matters most, reminding us that in the parable of the lost sheep (Luke 15), there would have been no knowledge of what needed attention if counting the ninety-nine had not taken place. In leading a church planting organization, one of the most responsible things you can do is to establish baselines for what truly needs to be measured, doing so with complete honesty. A colleague of mine would often say, “Reality is our friend.” (I would reply, referring to my vision of a favorable future, “Yes, but it’s not our only friend!”)
If you are in the beginning days of leading the organization, you have a unique window to determine what has really been taking place; but even if you have been underway for quite some time, it’s never a bad idea to have a solid inventory or audit of your current situation. Establishing a baseline helps get you the permission you need to move toward achieving goals.
You will want to research and measure several things (if possible) the previous three-to-five years:
• Number of new congregations (autonomous and sites) started each year.
• Number of new church planters deployed each year.
• Number of conversions and baptisms annually.
• Dollars contributed toward and dispersed toward new ventures.
• Dollars “paid forward” by new congregations toward the parent organization.
There may be few more things you’ll want to measure while you’re at it. This takes some work; in our agency, for instance, some hard-working people made countless phone calls to establish a true baseline of baptism numbers.
Remember that just as hype hurts a movement, honesty helps to advance it. Many organizations find that there have been double- or triple-countings of the same things. (This is especially true when more than one agency is involved in a single church plant.) Endless anecdotes without hard numbers end up disserving everyone. How much better it is to take a deep breath, exhale, and say, “Here’s what we truly have been and truly are. Reality is our friend, and it is not our only friend. We have a past and a present…and we also have a future.”
Read the rest of this series here: