5-star ratings. A, B, C, D, or F. High performer, low performer. Bottom-line impact. Return on Investment. S&P. It seems that our society bases everything on measurements of performance. The way we are valued seems dependent upon what impact we are making and how well we are performing.
Although I can see the benefits to measurement, and have spent the majority of my career helping leaders and organizations gauge their performance and grow their impact, I will say that, as a Christian, it does produce some degree of tension within my soul. There is some indication in the Gospels that Jesus “performed” acts that can be measured, such as healing people, de-possessing souls, and turning loaves into fishes. Yet the energy and focus of Jesus was in the conversation with the woman at the well, the loving praise he gave to Mary as she anointed his feet with oil, the way he loved his disciples. How can you possibly measure those relationships, conversations, and care?
Our ministry partners model Jesus by praying with a young boy who is being abused at home, talking to a young pregnant woman about God’s love for her and a hope for her future, persevering through numerous violent crimes in the neighborhood and determining to stay. How do you measure these acts of love?
At Desire Street, we know that what makes a difference in people’s lives are these intangible acts of love. We also know that reporting metrics can communicate these intangible acts in tangible ways, so that we can give hope to the world that just being present can make a difference in a community. Here’s a story of how one of our partners lives this out.
In the West Dallas neighborhood, where Mercy Street serves, the high-school graduation rate is 44%. Students in this neighborhood who attend the after-school mentoring program through Mercy Street have a 98% graduation rate.
That is an amazing statistic. But behind those numbers there is a story about mentors and volunteers spending time with a child who felt safe at Mercy Street after school, who learned about Jesus, began to see themselves as a child of God with dignity and specific strengths, and who, for perhaps the first time ever, had hope for their future. The graduation statistic is simply a by-product of the acts of love of Mercy Street.
How grateful we are to have a God who models this love for us. He gets an A, 5 stars, and the highest rating in my book.
Coach – Leadership and