“That the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:17)
The first step in measuring progress is to embrace the need for doing this! Very few parishes track the results of ministries and programs. Yet most parish priests and parish council members would certainly wish for this information if somehow it would magically appear.
Yet who has time to do this? What should be tracked? How do we do this? How often should we do this? Such questions usually result in activating the good-idea-but-maybe-in-the-future syndrome (which actually means “let’s not do this”). Why not start with something easy and see how it goes? Use a simple procedure in a simple format. The suggested method below can be used from the highest aspiration of the parish down to something somewhat easier to measure, such as increasing parish membership. Positive results provide legitimacy for an appeal to increase stewardship giving because programs are succeeding and we need to invest in success. Less than positive results can reveal a need for rigorous review and changes in a program. The example below demonstrates sample outcomes measurement for increasing parish membership.
Increase parish membership by 5% per year
1) Priority outcome to be measured: Increase number of participants in adult education programs
a. Neighborhood weekday Bible study
b. Personally recruit participants to “Introduction to Orthodoxy” class
c. Launch “Great books of Orthodoxy” reading group moderated by a qualified volunteer
2) Priority outcome to be measured: Increase number of outreach visitations completed
a. Establish Outreach Committee and meet monthly
b. Train and coach Outreach Committee – invest in training
c. Complete contact assignments (welcoming, coffee get acquainted, invitations made, visitor survey, etc.)
3) Priority Outcome to be measured: Lowered obstacles to entry and enhanced and new portals to entry
a. Candid survey of the “obstacles to entry” in the parish and lowering those that can be lowered
b. Candid survey of “portals of entry” into the parish and enhancing these or creating new ones
c. Parish Council workshop or seminar on evangelization