As the Book of Matthew draws to a close, Jesus gives a very distinct direction to his people: to make disciples of the nations. Many find this to be a difficult task, but what if it were possible to predict the outcome of mission efforts, Christian organizations and outreach programs? Would that make it easier for some to decide to get involved? Is there a formulaic way to foretell the likelihood of success?
The Spiritual Metrics Conference, held at Eastern on October 21 and 22, was a platform to introduce this very concept. Sponsored by Eastern and Global Scripture Impact, which provides research needed to start scripture based organizations around the world, speakers came to inform both business and spiritual-minded people of a way that they can use a model for business as a way to predict and even guide the success of a ministry.
Mark Forshaw, executive director of Global Scripture Impact stated that with any business, there is a model that can be followed and measurements that can be made to judge the acuity with which an individual or organization goes about its mission. While the concept of applying such models to church missions is somewhat theoretical, he feels that there is a demand for this kind of thing in the spiritual realm here on earth.
Dr. Joseph Crocket, director of Scholarly Projects at the American Bible Society, feels that bringing faith and business mechanics together could be very beneficial, as it would be “faith seeking understanding.”
If the impact of programs is measured, it would be possible to see which can do the greatest good in spreading the Word of God and which can be deemed unnecessary.
The idea of measuring impact and potential impact is still a rather difficult concept. According to Scott McConnell, Associate Director of Lifeway Reseach–a company that tracks events and trends important to Christian living–it is happening right now. It has been used to measure the impact and development of individuals, groups and churches.
Former projects are reviewed to judge what has worked and what has not. Measuring other entities by these standards, groups can yield common results, creating a possible trajectory of change. This creates the possibility of a formula for making the greatest impact through ministry.
While Spiritual Metrics is still a foreign concept to many, it seems that the application is very vast and will potentially have a long-standing effect on the way that ministry is done. Such research can change the way that ministry is taught and built.