This morning in church my mind jumped the track and started itís own private train of thought, laying the tracks as it went along.† I picked it up at the station of last nightís conversation with a colleague.† We questioned how much delegates implement of what they learn at ACMC Conferences.† We asked ourselves whether we should try to measure the results.† Right there I realized my train of thought was halfway to somewhere and I backed it up to the first station on the line.† It passed through several towns, tooting at each crossing, going something like this:
Q. What do you do?
R. I help churches in missions.
Q. How do you help churches in missions?
R. I do a number of things.† One is to conduct conferences which equip churches to be more effective.
Q. How much do you work on conferences?
R. I think I spend at least a third of my time organizing and conducting conference.
Q. How do you measure the results of your time?
R. I keep track of how many conferences I do.
Q. How do you measure the results of the conferences?
R. I keep a record of how many people are trained at the conferences.
Q. Iím sure thatís useful, but could you measure the impact of these people?
R. I could keep track of how many churches are influenced directly by the people at the conferences.
Q. OK.† I think you should do that, but could you measure how much impact there is on the churches?
R. That gets a little more difficult, but perhaps I could send out post-conference surveys to see what ideas they implemented.
Q. Good idea.† But could we measure what results came out of implementing those ideas?
R. Iím not sure, but perhaps we could find a way to measure how much increased education and prayer and organization resulted.
Q. Ah.† Now weíre getting somewhere, but can we measure what this increased education and prayer and organization actually produced?
R. I didnít think of that.† Maybe we could measure the increase in missions giving from these churches.
Q. Yes.† Donors would really like to know that.† But, could we find out what results are produced by the increased missions giving?
R. I donít know.† There might be many different results.† Maybe we could try to count how many additional missionaries were sent out by these churches.
Q. True, that would be useful to know, but how can we measure the results of these new missionaries?
R. Well, missionaries do lots of things, but perhaps we could count the number of new churches the new missionaries start.
Q. Now weíre getting into the kind of information that will appeal to foundations.† But still, we need to measure the results of these new churches.† Maybe some just attract Christians from other churches.
R. Yes, I see what you mean.† Of course, it is getting rather complicated.† Maybe we could try to measure how many conversions and professions of faith took place in the new churches.
Q. Thatís it!† This is exactly what we need.† However, there is just one more thing.
R. Whatís that?
Q. Well, we donít know how many of these new professed believers are truly worshipping and how many are simply sitting in church playing with their own private little train of thought.