The end of the year is a great time to take a personal inventory, and it is also a great time to take a church inventory. Taking a church inventory helps you discern what you might need to stop doing and what you might need to start doing differently. A church inventory that leads church leadership to better fulfill the mission of Christ ought to be an annual priority.
A church inventory has to begin with the mission of the church. You must evaluate the year and all your ministry activity in line with the mission of Jesus for His Church. If your church did not accomplish the mission of Jesus, it doesn’t matter how successful you were with any other goals.
“Our greatest fear should not be of failures, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.” — D.L. Moody
If the mission of the Church is to make fully trained disciples (Luke 6:40), then the one question that should be asked every year is: how many fully trained disciples did we make this year?
It doesn’t matter if you stayed within your budget if you didn’t make fully trained disciples. It doesn’t matter if you built a new building, had dynamic weekend services, made great first impressions, or had great fellowship. If we are not accomplishing Christ’s mission, we are missing the point.
In addition to the number of fully trained disciples you have made, you may want to also evaluate the process you have in place for leading disciples to become fully trained disciples. In other words, it may be beneficial to break down the stages of becoming a fully trained disciple and see how many people are actually making progress in that process.
Evaluating the process would mean seeing how many people have stepped out of the culture and into your weekend crowd. You can’t make fully trained disciples until that step happens. You might want to examine how many people in your weekend crowd have joined your church community. Joining community means they are connected to your small groups, ministry teams, and have been baptized.
The next step in the process is to evaluate how many people have become part of your disciple making core. The disciple making core is the group of people in your church who are being trained for ministry and potentially leadership.
The final stage for evaluating is how many people are stepping into leadership roles in your church. The ultimate demonstration of being a fully trained disciple is leading others to become fully trained disciples.
An annual church inventory might also include evaluating giving, membership, congregational care, and other metrics, but in the end, the most important number is how many fully trained disciples have been made.
At Impact Discipleship Ministries, we committed to helping churches become disciple making movements. If we can assist you in that process or in learning how to take an inventory, please email us at email@example.com. I also encourage your leadership team to read the booklet Thirty Days to Change Your Church as a resource for evaluation.