Analytics provides insight to act on the knowledge available, and those actions have the potential to transform the world (May, 2009). For ministry leaders, it is dangerous to assume analytics provides no use for the church today. The church, commissioned by Jesus, is commissioned with transforming the world.
In Matthew 9, we see an image of Jesus assessing the evangelical climate while speaking and healing in the various cities and villages (vs. 35). He encounters a multitudes of people “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (vs. 36). The religious leaders have failed to provide the spiritual guidance expected of them (Charette, 1990), and God’s people are enslaved in a passionless application of God’s law that values legalism over spiritual growth. Jesus’ assessment leads him to proclaim “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (vs. 37); which Jesus follows up with instructing the disciples to pray the Lord will send out more laborers for the harvest (vs. 37). Laborers are those who lead people towards salvation through the proclamation of Christ’s kingdom (Charette, 1990). With too few laborers, the danger is a portion of the harvest will be lost (Charette, 1990).
Jesus used analytics to come to this conclusion and provide instruction to his disciples and his church across the ages. As ministry leaders seek ways to compel Christ-followers towards an evangelical lifestyle, analytics can provide a path to successful behavioral transformation through measured and improved capabilities (Davenport et al., 2010). Jesus’ analysis revealed the number needing to be reached was too overwhelming for the few who were able to reach them, revealing a critical metric hindering the Kingdom of advancement (Croll & Yoskovitz, 2013). The expansion of foresight (May, 2009) equipped Jesus to inspire his disciples, and can do the same for ministry leaders today.
Charette, B. (1990). A harvest for the people: An interpretation of Matthew 9:37f. Journal for the Study of the New Testament, 38, 29–35.
Croll, A., & Yoskovitz, B. (2013). Lean analytics: use data to build a better startup faster (1st ed). Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly.
Davenport, T. H., Harris, J. G., & Morison, R. (2010). Analytics at work: smarter decisions, better results. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Press.
May, T. A. (2009). The new know: innovation powered by analytics. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.