How to calculate?

As I sit at my desk preparing to write the last blog post for August and the summer, I wonder how The Hub is being received. I wonder if it has value. I also wonder how a new summer program, Family Night, is being evaluated at my home church. I wonder how can I gauge these two ministries.

Summer months are often slow for churches; the WMS office is no different. Programming often takes a break, families travel, staff takes vacation, and the pace is slower. It is certainly a difficult time to measure a ministry, or is it?

I think it all depends on how we can calculate whether a ministry is successful or not. Do we count numbers? Do we gauge impact (is that even possible)? How do we measure what matters?

I am the type of person who likes to see results and the easiest thing to measure is numbers. Well…let me tell you…The Hub numbers went way down starting in June and have stayed down. The Family Night at my church saw 1, 2, or 3 families attending (many less than Messy Church that runs the rest of the year). What does this mean? Does this mean these ministries have not been successful?

If numbers are the thing to measure, yes, few people were reached. However, I would suggest numbers are not the most important. When the WMS first started The Hub, they decided the objectives of The Hub’s posts are to encourage the reader to feel included in the community; to help women to develop relationships with each other, grow in their faith, and deepen their relationship with God; and to encourage women to serve God in their daily lives. Nowhere is it mentioned, 300, 400, or 500 women will be reached.

The same is true with the Family Night. Although I wasn’t involved in the planning, I would suggest that the objective was to provide a Christian place for families to play and to learn together.

What both these ministries have in common is that they are largely a spiritual initiative. They are concerned about people drawing closer to Christ and growing in their faith. If we settle for measuring numbers because it is easy then we miss out on what is far more meaningful.

How did Jesus measure his ministry? How did he value is time? When he was traveling and preaching around Galilee in his early years, did he always draw hundreds? Did he stop for just a few? Yes, Jesus spoke to hundreds but he also spoke to lone travelers and lone women.

We’ll never know the full story. After someone reads a blog post, is it forgotten? Does it sit in the back of someone’s mind until it becomes useful? Is it acted upon? Was it shared?

What about Family night? Did a lot of families come? Did they take something home? Did the children have fun at church and listen to the message?

Stories are often how we’ll measure the effectiveness of this ministry, The Hub and my church’s Family Night. So let me share with you how my family experienced Family Night.

I have an 8 year-old boy, Nathan, and a 6 year-old girl, Julianne. They both had a great time. We competed in Amazing Race tasks like eating worms in dirt (gummie worms in oreo cookie crumbs) and Frisbee tosses to earn puzzle pieces so we could put together our message as a group. We played Bible Family Feud (and lost) and Snakes and Ladders moving our bodies across a board taped on the flower of our fellowship hall.

Yes, the games were fun and geared towards family cooperation. But it went beyond the fun and laughs. The staff and volunteers talked to my kids, making them feel part of a community; they joked around with them, making them feel important; and led them in Christian conversations, helping them develop their understanding of God.

As a parent, we can be fun and we can have “God” conversations but it isn’t always intentional. An intentional evening with our church family is always a great starting point and support to families when they leave the church building.

Nathan and Julianne were sad that they had to miss the last Family Night of the summer because we had other plans. The fact that they wanted to come back (and would have done so weekly if given the chance) tells me that Family Night was a success.

Do you have stories or thoughts you’d like to share about how The Hub has worked in your life? You are welcome to comment on the blog or contact me, Alexis McKeown, amckeown@presbyterian.ca.

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One thought on “How to calculate?

  • September 5, 2016 at 8:50 pm
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    Too often we get caught up in the numbers game and use that as our basis of success. We need to remember that just because fewer people are attending events or reading blogs that they aren’t important. Let’s remember quality, not quantity. I have enjoyed checking out The Hub and am inspired by the messages. Thanks!

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