Engagement Over Attendance: Part II

Deep in our Christian educator bones we know that attendance isn’t the only or best measure of how the Spirit is moving in the lives of children, youth, and families. And yet. – Christine V. Hides


Last week I introduced this new series and extended an invitation to collaborate with other Christian Educators to develop a list of alternatives to measuring attendance. Below is a  list of potential ways to measure engagement, based on the assumption that discipleship is a way of life that includes specific practices. If discipleship is a way of life, then we can measure increased practice of these Christian disciplines.

Worship, prayer, sabbath keeping, observing Christian seasons and rituals, Bible reading/study, service, generosity, sacrament and justice seeking are practices of Christian discipleship.

Potential Measures of Discipleship Practices (a beginning list):

Bible Study:  Increased attendance, leadership and participation in Bible study. Availability of in person and online study offerings. Do we have an intentional study pathway that recognizes the diversity of biblical knowledge and comfort in the congregation, across all ages?

Service to Others: Increased participation and leadership of service projects. Are we equipping people called to lead such ministries?

Generosity: Giving to the local church and other charities. Are we creating a culture of gratitude beyond the stewardship season?

Prayer: Increased number of opportunities for communal prayer. Growing number of lay people willing to lead prayers at church gatherings. Are we intentionally teaching a variety of prayer practices across all ages? Are we asking people if these practices are encouraging their faith practice outside the church?

The list above  is drafty and messy and potentially hard to implement.  It isn’t meant to be a finished product. I share it to start a conversation.  What I am discovering is that there actually are a larger number of ways than I had imagined. And, I believe there are more!

So please, read this list, share this list, make notes, cross things out, or even throw it out and start over. Most importantly, though, let’s talk about it in the new year.  In January, I will host an online conversation open to 10 other Christian educators to collaborate and discuss some new best practices of discipleship measurement. Complete this sign-up form to be invited to the conversation (limited to the first 10 people).

My hope is that this will inspire additional practices in the new year. Be sure to subscribe to email updates to receive future blog posts in your inbox.

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