John* and his business partner were just a couple of young, hard-working bond-traders who commuted every day in and out of Chicago. To help pass the time on the train—and because they were numbers guys—they developed a system that they thought would surely help them win at their “rotisserie baseball league.” What an understatement!
Not only did their innovative way of analyzing traditional baseball statistics make them the envy of their “fantasy” league, taking home the coveted prize year after year, but the duo also knew they had stumbled onto something big. Major League Baseball Teams were measuring all the wrong things in their effort to discover real talent. There were other measurements that could predict success better than conventional metrics!
John ended up creating a company and signed an exclusive contract with the legendary Billy Beane and his Oakland Athletics. The 2011 award-winning movie Moneyball tells his story and how John literally changed the face of baseball.
Today, John’s company has contracts with countless other professional franchises, placing “spotters” in ballparks all across the country who are measuring entirely “new” things, forever changing what General Managers and scouts look for in major league baseball talent.
Evangelism guru Ed Stetzer said, “What we measure, we become.” When it comes to sharing the good news of the gospel, what does the church need to be measuring in order to get things moving in a better direction?
What have our traditional metrics—church attendance, number of programs, the size of our buildings—achieved?
What are the results we’re actually after?
NEW EQUIPPING QUESTIONS
In the same way that no baseball team can actually control winning or losing—they can just put forth their best effort—no church can control how many conversions it will be blessed to be a part of in any given year, but it can control how it chooses to equip each individual to share the gospel. What questions can we begin to ask one another so that we become equipped and mobilized to be an influence for Christ where we live, work and play?
What about questions like:
How has God gifted you?
What do you love to do?
Where has God placed you?
Are you friends with people who don’t know Christ?
Do you spend time in public places?
What is God teaching you? What does that make you want to do?
What consistently grabs your attention?
How have you expressed God’s love lately?
How might the face of evangelism change if we helped those in our churches discover their unique gifts, skills, and place in the world? Scripture says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10).
Think of the exciting variety of stories we would hear from the front of our worship gatherings if we really helped equip the saints for ministry!
What other equipping questions come to your mind that more accurately reflect the missional outcomes we’re really after?
Just like Major League Baseball learned that winning games meant measuring and focusing on different behaviors than the typical ones it always had, the church needs to learn that in order for her to experience the excitement of new baptisms and changed lives, we will need to focus on measuring and encouraging personal discoveries that will lead to those outcomes.
* John’s name has been changed to protect the confidential nature of his baseball business.