If you aren't clear on your ministry ends you will always measure your ministry means. Think about it. If it's easy to confuse ends and means then this becomes the most important distinction to lead by. I hate to break it to you as ministry leaders, but leading in the church is the MOST difficult environment to maintain this clarity.
How can you immediately know where you stand with this distinction? If you don't have clear language for both ministry means and ministry ends, you will necessarily be measuring means only.
For example, a ministry means is a small group. If your church has small groups you will have some language for this environment— home teams, life groups, etc. Ministry ends, on the other hand, is what that small group should produce, or facilitate or aim at in the life of an individual. Do your group leaders know the ministry ends for a small group?
- Have you every clarified your ministry ends as a church?
- What kind of disciple is your church designed to produce?
- Have you ever measured anything other than attendance and giving?
- What are the God results and spiritual output that you are really after?
- Do you think attendance alone is an adequate way to assess the accomplishment of the mission?
There is actually an entire world of articulating and living into ministry ends. It's the most freeing thing a ministry leader can ever experience. Do you stop measuring means? Of course not. You still count how many people you have in groups. But you count other stuff as well. You count...
- How many 2:00am friends people have?
- How many people have experienced meaningful accountability?
- How many leaders have mentored other leaders?
- Who in your life has "refrigerator rights?"
- The confidence level of sharing the gospel?
- How many people have crossed a cultural boundary for Jesus?
- The level fulfillment of being a missionary in the workplace?
Lead with the end in mind.