Though ministry endeavors may be assisted in effectiveness through the use of analytics, many ministry leaders still resist the use of metrics. Often the concern is the use of metrics will diminish people to numbers and the heart of Christ will be lost, causing ministries to fail in advancing the kingdom of God in exchange for building church kingdoms on earth. Due to the difficulty in the process of metric gathering, ministries often conclude it is not feasible to track transformational outcomes while valuing people in order to serve congregations (Hale et al., 2012). In order to use metrics and effectively reach people in a way that reflects Christ, ministries need a new way to think about measuring influence and impact beyond tithes, attendance, and number of ministries existing; ministries must find ways to measure heart change and lifestyle shifts in individuals to gain an accurate understanding of ministry effectiveness (Kinnaman, 2010).
Before ministries reject the use of analytics, they must consider these four factors that are driving more ministry leaders to figure out how to capture metrics (Forshaw, 2011): ministries have an internal desire to make the most impact for the Kingdom of God; donors are articulating strongly they want to know they are making a difference through their generous gifts; there are professional research tools available to ministries to measure transformation; and those who are served by ministries are asking for tools to measure the projects that serve them.
Analytics underlie the choices of those in authority, and substantially influence how issues are defined and responses are considered (Weiss & Bucuvala, 1980). Developing reliable measures for transformational outcomes positions ministries to measure the spiritual change in their faith communities (Hale et al., 2012), which is why ministries exist, to begin with.
Ciabaugh, M. (2010). The Shape of the Future. Outcomes, (Winter). Retrieved from http://www.christianleadershipalliance.org/Tpage =VisionQuest.
Forshaw, M. (2011). Where Is the Demand Coming from to Measure Spiritual Impact. Speech presented at the The Spiritual Metrics Conference, Eastern University, St. Davids, PA.
Hale, J., Reesor, A., & John, R. (2012). Numbers and Hearts: A Case Study in the Development of Metrics for Transformational Ministry Outcomes. International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior (PrAcademics Press), 15(1), 88–131.
Kinnaman, D. (2010). The Future of Christian Nonprofits. Outcomes, (Winter). Retrieved from http://www.christianleadershipalliance. org/?page=FutureOf Nonprofits.
Weiss, C. H., & Bucuvalas, M. J. (1980). Social science research and decision-making. New York: Columbia University Press.