Diagnosing Today

Recently I gave you an overview of what I call the getting to there process. In this post, I want to describe a key step in the process: Diagnosing Today.

In the diagram, I refer to Today as the Present. Whether you’re at an unfamiliar shopping mall or  Disneyland, in order to get where you’d like to go, you first need to understand where you are. To chart a course to where you want to go (i.e., the Apple Store or Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge), it is essential to find where you are on the directional map. Think “You Are Here ✮

With me?

In order to skillfully find your way to where you want to go, you must first have an accurate understanding of where you are. Whether you’re at a shopping mall or Disneyland’s Main Street entrance, seeing where you are on the directional map will help you chart a sensible course for where you want to go.

It is no different when you’ve done the work of choosing and articulating the preferred future you dream of reaching. You must first understand where you are (i.e., the present or today).

Your diagnosis of the present can be as simple or exhaustive as you desire to make it. In an organizational sense, your diagnosis should include the aspects that will bring clarity about the present. Some of what you measure will be quantitative and some might be qualitative.

For example, you might want to think about things like:

  • Current engagement: might include things like the number of adults in small groups, total number of active groups and leaders, average weekend adult worship attendance, average number of new givers per month, average number of adults serving in a ministry, average number of new families per month, average number of first step attendees, etc.
  • Financials: might include things like year-over-year giving, current debt, average number of new giving units, etc.
  • Communication: How easy or hard is it for new attendees to identify and take their first step (i.e., website, weekend service program, announcements, sermon mentions, etc.). How much competition is there for promotion of programs and ministries that aren’t central to the preferred future your senior leaders aspire to reach?
  • Teamwork: How clear is the end-in-mind to your staff? How clear is the end-in-mind to the various categories of participants (core, committed, congregation, and crowd).
  • Corporate health: How well does your staff embrace your corporate values? Does your core and staff share the same vision? Do your elders (or governing board) share the vision of your senior pastor?

Depending on your skill level, you may be able to adequately diagnose the present. The challenge will be to remain objective and dispassionate when diagnosing. Much like a doctor self-diagnosing, there are times when the wise thing to do is employ the fresh eyes of an outsider to conduct the diagnosis.

Email Me if you need help in understanding the process or conducting the diagnosis.

Further Reading:

FAQ: What Should We Be Measuring (to build a thriving small group ministry)?

How to Take the Pulse of Your Small Group Ministry

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