“If congregations spend all their time measuring the same things that other nonprofits focus on without bothering to set metrics that are faith based, why do they exist? Isn’t this missing the point?”
-from Faithful Metrics
Thank you for being a leader in the church and for taking your own growth seriously.
Why church leaders should read Faithful Metrics.
The past is a powerful influencer of the future. If we let them, the decisions we made yesterday will determine what is possible tomorrow. Our past processes, assumptions, relationships, and ways of thinking about church, faith, God, and our own life have worked for us in the past. Being locked in to these previous conditions for success and general theological groundings tends to reinforce a path that is inherently filled with assumptions – assumptions that Hahn, in Faithful Metrics, believes can and should be questioned.
Questioning these perspectives is not a critique of the past, yet people will often feel reactive, defensive, or sad people about potential change. Instead, it is an opportunity to disable constraints that may be limiting us from catching up to a creative and creating God. How we think about church – our preconceptions, the stories we tell ourselves, and the culture we have become locked into – is preventing us from moving from a victim mindset to a more productive learner mindset.
Faithful Metrics is a field guide for us as leaders who want to do more than talk about a path forward. We can surface and name the tendencies and biases we have as a group while we reflect on our language and what we mean by it. We can ask new questions. We can set metrics that are both faithful and freeing as we consider ways to empower our community to be revitalized.
As church leaders, we can be freed from our obsession to compare ourselves to other congregations. It is hard to find examples of really amazing things that happen solely due to competition. Rather than a focus on being better than XYZ congregation, leaders can ask better questions.
What has God uniquely gifted and called us to do in this neighborhood?
Where can we make an amazing contribution to the world as we live out of the compassionate grace of God in our own lives? The metrics we set can help us make incremental shifts that reveal more about our place in God’s world. What we measure matters. We are not another non-profit organization. We are the church. We can set metrics that support our shared values and purpose for a different future.
The Camino de Santiago serves as a metaphor for the journey through this field guide. The photos in the book are from Peggy Hahn’s own pilgrimage on the Camino in Spain.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Peggy Hahn is passionate about growing leaders and dreams of faith communities that attract people of all ages and cultures as they make a difference in their neighborhoods and in the world. She served both in congregations and as Assistant to the Bishop in the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the ELCA for more than 34 years. She received the 2014 Tom Hunstad Award for Excellence in Children, Youth, and Family Ministry. Peggy coordinated service projects for 36,000 people at the 2009 and 2012 ELCA Youth Gatherings in New Orleans and was the innovator of Camp Hope Day Camp Ministries and The Disciple Project. Peggy is the Executive Director of LEAD.
What others are saying about Faithful Metrics:
If you want to start a fight in a room full of church professionals, bring up the topic of metrics. We mostly all agree that we need to be measuring something, but we also feel like we aren’t measuring the right things. Peggy Hahn not only deftly explains the reason for the dissatisfaction with our current metrics, she draws out the path to lead us toward genuinely helpful ways to evaluate our ministry, think creatively about new ministries, and tell the stories of our communities.
Move this book to the top of your to-read pile with your staff, leadership, and key volunteers as soon as possible. -David Hansen
In a time when so many congregations are looking for a ‘quick fix’ to get us back to a time that no longer exists, Faithful Metrics presses the church to consider that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to help revitalize a ministry; still there are metrics that are common to congregations who are faithfully moving into the future. In an age of change, where adaptive leadership is called for, Faithful Metrics is an important resource to stoke and inspire the conversations that should be happening in every congregation. -William “Bill” Gohl Jr.
Church leaders often either lean too heavily on the limited metrics of budgets and attendance, or they swing the pendulum the other way, writing off any analysis completely, with phrases like, ‘We’re not about numbers; we’re about people.’ Peggy Hahn gives us a soulful way to take a meaningful look at ministry, focusing beyond nickels and noses to reenergize the deeper work of ministry. This book is best read by a church leadership team together.- Michelle Reinhart
Faithful Metrics is both theological and practical. It is chock full of examples and questions that help church leaders rethink metrics that will help them and their congregations deepen their faith and their connection to the Mission of God. – Sue Briner