Leading Change, Social Media for Ministries
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Measuring Transactions and Interactions in Ministry

cashregisterA huge challenge I observe in ministry is for leaders who grew up in the transaction era leading those who are ministering in the interaction era. Many ministry leaders consider themselves falsely ineffective because of the expectation to produce more transactions.

The previous generation almost exclusively measured transactions in ministry: donations, attendance, decisions for Christ, baptisms, etc.

The cultural changes around the world and the development of web technology  have revealed the ability and need to measure interactions: clicks, likes, impressions, pageviews.

Some of these transactions have decreased exponentially (decisions for Christ and attendance certainly), shifting the paradigm for ministry effectiveness of those on the field. Yet again many of those who give to ministry projects come from and expect more transactions than are realistic given the current climate.

I also see a connection with the exponentially expanding social justice ministries–tents, bottles of water, shovels, etc can easily be quantified and fit into the transactional paradigm well. Many of these social justice ministries are both using social media well to generate interactions but also share transactions that are relevant and easily measurable.

What are you seeing as it relates to interactional and transactional ministry? Are you under pressure to produce transitions that rarely occur but are heavily valued within your organization? Are there some key interactions that you are measuring and working towards?

photo courtesy of zizzy


  1. We, The Church, have been given a mission to glorify God by making full-fledged, replicating disciples… pervasively, first in our Jerusalem, and then in Some-Area, and extending into every sector of the world.

    Regarding mission-measurement, consider how universities easily measure their full-fledged mission-outcomes… ie, ‘Graduates’. Sure, there are other helpful classification-measurements along the way to observe/report progress (Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, not to mention quality-measures such as GPA), and no measurement system is perfect… but at least you can have a good idea that the university either is or isn’t making progress as they develop scholars. And you can be sure, collegiate assessment systems are a major part of quality academic credentialing.

    The Church is all too often UNaccountable for assessing progress toward our mission — much less held accountable for our geographic community impact… say city-by-city, community by community.

    Without first having progress measures and some accountability, how will we even know whether ‘transactional’ or ‘relational’ measures best serve as lead-indicators toward the Great Commission in our communities?

    • you bring up some great questions Neil! i think moving away from “how often and how much time and money” and more towards “how often and how much evangelism and discipleship” could be a great first step for many ministries.

      from observing a variety of ministries i see older leaders getting frustrated at the lack of transactions happening and younger leaders getting frustrated by the under-valuing of interactions. i’m advocating raising awareness and measuring both transactions and interactions.

      interactions are also particularly interesting to me because they are an indicator of potential value–perhaps someone is stuck in a crazy job, and has mounds of debt, but has had a transformational encounter w Christ and wants to change–they cannot attend or give the way they want, and because they do neither, no one “sees” them. yet they might “like” every post from the church page, or click on every link in the church email newsletter–but if the ministry is not measuring those interactions they may miss a significant opporunity.

      thanks for the comment!

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