Home > Brian's Blogs, Missional Church > Missional Renaissance (5): Changing the Scorecard

Missional Renaissance (5): Changing the Scorecard

Today I continue my series of Reggie McNeal’s Missional Renaissance by looking at how we change the scorecard for the first missional shift: from internal to external focus. These scorecard discussions are very important for pastors and elders!

One of Reggie’s main points in this entire book is this: “it is a fundamental truism of human nature that ‘what gets rewarded gets done.'”  In other words, we are always going to have some “scorecard” for success in almost everything we do.  But, the scorecard often determines what we do!  In the North American church there are two primary criteria on the scorecard: attendance and budget.  In our context, church is “successful” if it has a large Sunday morning attendance or a lot of money in the bank (or in the building fund!).  When these are our primary criteria, it is no wonder that we become internally focused.  If the scorecard is about rear-ends in the seats on Sunday morning, then we will do everything we can to get a rear-end in the seat – especially a rear-end that gives (sometimes we call these “giving units” rather than “brother and sister”).

So, if the church is going to be missional, we must overcome this internal focus and move toward an external focus (see my previous post for an explanation).  But how?  Reggie suggests that we begin by changing the scorecard.  Here are some options for how a missional church measures a shift from internal to external focus:

  • How often do we pray for our community individually and when we gather together as a body?
  • Do we adopt community leaders and servants for prayer? (Reggie notes how some churches have regular appointments with community leaders to pray for them – this happens with the governor of Hawaii for 5 minutes each week.)
  • How many spiritual conversations do we have with people outside the church?
  • Do our church leaders have required community responsibilities as a part of their job description? (the point is that the leaders must lead by example!)
  • How many Sunday schools, small groups, etc have a community service/external ministry component?
  • How many community leaders are brought into the church on Sunday am to educate the people about needs and prayer requests?
  • How many hours does the church staff spend in the office versus in the community?
  • Publish a list of community needs (not just church needs) in the bulletin, bulletin board, website, etc.
  • Keep track of volunteer hours in the community and report it as we report budget and attendance numbers.
  • Pay church members who live in apartment buildings, trailer parks, and condos to serve as resident missionaries.
  • Adopt a school.  Reggie says “there is no more successful strategy than this to call out people and their talent for community ministry.”  For a great organization, see Kids Hope USA.
  • Make the church calendar a community calendar to that people in the church are connected to events outside it!
  • Begin church planning with the community calendar in hand to avoid conflict and encourage community participation.
  • Reduce the number of church events!
  • Help church members see their existing community involvement, including the work they do for a living, as primary opportunities for ministry.  This can be done by increasing the amount of time we spend celebrating people’s everyday ministries on Sunday morning.
  • How many community groups use or facility? (might I add…for free!)
  • How many other Christian communities use our facilities?
  • Build future facilities with the input of the community leaders so that it can be used strategically.
  • In the budget, how much money goes to internal stuff versus external?  (one congregation budgets $2 for external ministry for every $1 spend on its facilities)
  • Add a community component to any capital stewardship drive
  • Establish a 501(c)(3) from the church for community ministries
  • Invite community leaders into your budgeting process so they can inform you of needs
  • Challenge the congregation to free up some of their own money to be used in the community and celebrate it!

Here is how Reggie concludes this chapter:

“The missional church scorecard has a much wider bandwidth than the current scorecard in place for the North American church…Your scorecard for your congregation or ministry should reflect your own vision and values.  It needs to support what you are trying to accomplish and how you are going about getting it done.  Developing the right scorecard will help establish the accountability that will turn your dreams into reality.  It will also give you opportunities to celebrate progress made on your journey into the missional renaissance.”

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