POST-CHRISTIAN & A working definition by The Barna Group

It may come as no surprise that the influence of Christianity in the United States is waning. Rates of church attendance, religious affiliation, belief in God, prayer and Bible-reading have all been dropping for decades. By consequence, the role of religion in public life has been slowly diminishing, and the church no longer functions with the cultural authority it held in times past. These are unique days for the church in America as it learns what it means to flourish in a new “Post-Christian” era.

Barna has developed a metric to measure the changing religious landscape of American culture. We call this the “post-Christian” metric. To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals must meet nine or more of our 16 criteria (listed below), which identify a lack of Christian identity, belief and practice. These factors include whether individuals identify as atheist, have never made a commitment to Jesus, have not attended church in the last year or have not read the Bible in the last week.

These kinds of questions—compared to ticking the “Christian” box in a census—get beyond how people loosely identify themselves (affiliation) and to the core of what people actually believe and how they behave as a result of their belief (practice). These indicators give a much more accurate picture of belief and unbelief in America…

Post-Christian Metrics

To qualify as “post-Christian,” individuals had to meet nine or more of the following factors . “Highly post-Christian” individuals meet 13 or more of the factors (out of these 16 criteria).

  • Do not believe in God
  • Identify as atheist or agnostic
  • Disagree that faith is important in their lives
  • Have not prayed to God (in the last week)
  • Have never made a commitment to Jesus
  • Disagree the Bible is accurate
  • Have not donated money to a church (in the last year)
  • Have not attended a Christian church (in the last 6 months)
  • Agree that Jesus committed sins
  • Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”
  • Have not read the Bible (in the last week)
  • Have not volunteered at church (in the last week)
  • Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)
  • Have not attended religious small group (in the last week)
  • Bible engagement scale: low (have not read the Bible in the past week and disagree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate)
  • Not Born Again

The Most Post-Christian Cities in America: 2017,” The Barna Group, 7/11/17. Read more at … https://www.barna.com/research/post-christian-cities-america-2017/

EVALUATION & A List of Church Growth/Health Measurements (metrics) from My Books

AN OVERVIEW of MEASUREMENT METRICS: In four of my books I have updated and modified a church measurement tool.  You will find a chapter on measurement in each of these books:

Cure for the Common Church, (Wesleyan Publishing House), chapter “Chapter 6: How Does a Church Grow Learners,” pp. 101-123.
> ORGANIX: Signs of Leadership in a Changing Church (Abingdon Press), “Chapter 8: Measure 4 Types of Church Growth,” pp. 139-159.
> Growth By Accident, Death By Planning (Abingdon Press), “Chapter 7: Missteps with Evaluation,” pp. 97-108/
> A House Divided: Bridging the Generation Gaps In Your Church (Abingdon Press), “Chapter 10: Evaluate Your Success,” pp. 202-221.

I explain that church growth involves four types of congregational growth.  It is a seriously incorrect assumption to assume church growth is all about numbers.  It is only 1/4 about numbers and 3/4 about the other types of growth mentioned in Acts 2:42-47.  In the New Testament we find…

> Maturation Growth, i.e. growth in maturity,Acts 2:42-43.
> Growth in Unity: Acts 2:44-46.
> Growth in Favor, i.e. among non-Christians, Acts 2:47a.
> Growth in number of salvations, i.e. which God does according to this verse, Acts 2:47b.

For more see … https://churchhealthwiki.wordpress.com/2015/06/12/measurement-a-reliable-valid-tool-to-measure-church-growthhealth-organixbook/

EVALUATION & One way to measure quality

by Jackson Wu, nd. (excerpted from a more comprehensive article on evaluation, linked below).

What about quality?

How does Scripture primarily describe Spiritual fruit? In Gal 5:22–23, Paul writes,

“the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

Many mission organizations track statistics regarding the number of churches and professions of faith. How many have a way of recording and celebrating fruitfulness as Paul describes it?

We might think of “quality” fruitfulness in terms of five goals.

1. Clarity (head)

Are we giving a clear witness that is both biblically faithful and culturally meaningful?

2. Conviction (heart)

We want those we serve to have changed hearts. Yet, this is NOT something we can control.

It is a miraculous work of the Spirit. For this reason, we should be careful about how much we push “decisions” as the primary metric for ministry success. How can we be held accountable for something outside our control?

3. Character (head)

We want believers to live godly lives.

4. Calling (mission)

We want believers to serve God in ministry to the world. God’s people are called to join His mission.

5. Community (church)

Ministry to and through individuals is not the primary goal. We cannot claim effectiveness if we are not aiming to build up the Church. Christian faith is inherently communal…

Read more at … http://jacksonwu.org/2015/07/08/is-our-ministry-effective/

EVALUATION & One way to measure quantity # jacksonwu

by Jackson Wu, nd. (excerpted from a more comprehensive article on evaluation, linked below).

What about quantity?

Typically, missionaries (and churches) track the number of “decisions” made by the people with whom they shared the gospel. Practically, this translates into counting how many people “prayed to receive Christ.”

I’ll address this further in a coming blog post. For now, I will simply say this is a misleading metric. There are better ways of measuring ministry effectiveness. For example, . . .

Listening? –– Are people paying attention?

If we share the gospel in a culturally meaningful way, our message will not come across “abstract” or unrelated to daily life. We cannot change people’s hearts; however, we can convey the truth in a manner that makes sense. In this way, we expect more people to pay more attention to us than they otherwise typically do.

Longevity? –– How does attrition affect churches?

When the gospel truly changes people’s hearts, it fosters a new manner of life. There is greater perseverance in genuine faith that in superficial, religious belief or in the response that comes because of social pressure. Therefore, when the gospel takes root, we will see far less church attrition that in “movements” that produce 100 churches in a year but only have a scant few remain after 5 years?

Read more at … http://jacksonwu.org/2015/07/08/is-our-ministry-effective/

MEASUREMENT

Three Metrics that will Move the World
from McKinsey Mktg&Sales

2. Seven in ten of those living in “extreme poverty” live in resource-rich countries.

You may be familiar with the idea of the “resource curse” or the “paradox of plenty”–the idea that countries with easy access to natural resources, such as oil, metals, or other commodities, often fail to develop healthy economies.On the other hand, many places that have performed well have little or no natural resources to rely on (think of the “tiger” economies: Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan). This is not academic speculation, as another statistic indicates: four out of five resource-driven countries have below-average incomes…”

Read more at … http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140304184631-53060352-three-metrics-that-will-move-the-world