Were you a success in 2014? It depends on the scorecard you are using. 2014 was a success for our church. I am not bragging or being positive. I have data to back it up. Its called my annual church report. That’s right! I love to do my annual report. Let me tell you why.
My denomination makes us fill out stats for our church every year. I must admit for the first few years this was a depressing process. We had to fill out this paperwork with our numbers from our year. How many members? How many salvations? How many baptisms? How many did we average? All of these help our denomination assess our health as a church. As a church that has been in the process of revitalizing over the past few years, we are doing well, but we did not have much to report in these categories. We grow by a couple people each year. We rarely have a salvation and baptize a few people each year. That report always made me feel like a failure. It was only numbers. And numbers is not what our church is about. According to it, I was a failure.
One year I decided to keep another report. I call it my church report. Every year at the end of the year I go back and look at what we Did this year, not who was here or not here. I started counting things like babies born, marriages, outreach events, missions offerings, positive memories, member milestones, major improvements, and new ministries we tried (even if they failed). I started counting things that don’t fit on a statistical report. The first one was two pages long of items we had to celebrate. The second year was even better. This year it is a four page report of everything we counted as win. And it is amazing to see what we accomplished that is beyond how many are saved or baptized.
This has changed my whole evaluation process of what is success. 2013 was a perfect example. In November of 2013, we had gone 11 months and not one person was saved as a result of our 52 services that year. I was depressed. Everyone else, especially the big churches were saving hundreds and we didn’t have one. NOT ONE. I wanted to quit. I questioned why we existed if no one came to Christ this year. Then I started my church report. I went back over the year. Using the three parts of our vision, I made a list of things we accomplished in each of these areas. I looked at the calendar, the posts on Facebook, the events we held and the people who came, I started to see a bigger picture. I was overwhelmed at what God did through us! Suddenly I didn’t feel so much like a failure. No, we didn’t have a salvation, but we did 16 outreach events, gave generously to missions, had incredible experiences together. None of that is negated just because we didn’t have a salvation. There are churches reaching thousands who didn’t do what we did. And would never try.
Now I love putting together our annual report because we have so much more to report than what our income was or how many members we added. In every category of our three part vision, we had between 8-15 “wins” that we can celebrate for 2014. Had I not put that report together, I am sure I would have felt bad for this year too. We had no salvations again this year. But that doesn’t matter. We did what God wanted us to do in 2014. We were successful 2014. My feelings match my reality because I took the time to go back and see all God did through us. When you do a recap like this, you see the truth of what you accomplished. And you get to share that sense of satisfaction with your church. You can celebrate together what God did through your church. You also become more aware of how faithful God was. Without that recap, I tend to forget what he did for us.
If you have to fill out one of those reports for your church, do yourself a favor and make your own report. Mine is very simple. Attached is a copy for you to see as an example. You can do it too. Build yourself a new scorecard to evaluate your ministry by. In a future post, I will share our churches annual business report and how I changed that to reflect this new score card.
I also put together a video recap. It is another way to see what you God did through your church.