Community Empowerment Research

We help churches, schools, and community organizations
measure needs of the people they serve,
set strategies to meet those needs, and
assess the impact of their work in service, training, evangelism, and outreach.

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Do better at doing good
Measure the spiritual state of your members
Identify needs
Are You Making A Difference?
How Do You Know What You Know?
Measure What Matters
Knowing and Truth in the Bible
About Us

Measure What Matters

Someone has said that what you measure is what becomes important.

You start to focus only on what you have clear and ready numbers on.

Are you focusing on what is most important or just what is easiest to count?

When serving God we need to focus on—and measure—only what is important.

Churches almost always count "numbers": number of baptisms, number of commitments to Christ, number of members, number attending worship, number at summer camp, and on and on.

But what is most important?  Is attendance more important than spiritual growth?  Churches always know attendance, but they do not know how well their members are growing.

Since we focus on what we measure, we focus more on getting people into the pews than preparing them to go out into the world.

Churches and service agencies need accurate ways to measure an assortment of important indicators.

We need to know what community people really need.

We need to know what church members really know about God.

  Do we really know what the people in our churches or in the wider community really need?

  Where are the people in your church, spiritually?  Do they understand basic theological tenets or do they confuse popular ideas about God with traditional Christian beliefs?

  How well do your members know the ways of God?  How much do they accept as Biblical the ways of the World?  Do they understand the difference?

A recent study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life surveyed 35,000 people and found that Americans who attend church change affiliations often.  This indicates that they really have no solid understanding of Christian faith, but simply shop around for a church that fits their pre-conceived theologies.  (You can read more at

How can you find people's real needs and real beliefs?

Are church members learning about God?

·   learning forgiveness,

·   learning righteousness,

·   learning the nature of God,

·   learning spiritual disciplines?

Are they putting that knowledge into practice?

  All churches teach from the pulpit.  Some have classes and conferences or small groups for adults.  Are these effective?  Are they enough?

  Are congregation leaders teaching what you want them to teach?

  Are church members learning what is taught?

  Are they learning to serve others?

  Are they learning to share their faith?

  What do they feel about their neighbors—Or the people on the other side of the tracks?

  Is church, for the members, a way to get in touch with and serve God or is it a way to get God to help them live more comfortably?

  Have they learned righteousness?

  Have they learned grace?

  Have they learned how to balance righteous living and a grace-giving life?

  Have they learned effective ways to share their faith?

  Are they living what they learned?

If they are not learning, what can you do to change?  If they are learning, are they practicing what they learn?  What do you need to do to make your teaching more effective?

For church programs and community agencies that serve the needs of people: do we know what kind of impact we have had on those people?

We count the number served, but there is more to effective ministry than numbers.

  Are we meeting the people's needs and doing it cost-effectively?

  Are we causing any unexpected harm?

  Do we know if we have changed the situation that caused their need so others don't have the same needs later?  Maybe we're busy stocking and manning a food closet when the people really need help with housing or medical needs.

  Do our clients know we serve in the name of Christ?

How can we evaluate the impact you have?

How can we become more effective at meeting spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional needs of members and neighbors?

The answer to some of these questions involves knowing how to design a good research study.  Simply asking a few clients what they need will not give a true picture of the community's needs.  Similarly, a survey of a few active members will not give you an inventory of the spiritual state of newer or less-active members.

Knowledge of scientific research principals is needed.

There are good ways to ask questions and poor ways to ask them.

You would not diagnose your own cancer—you'd go to a specialist.

If sued in court, you would not make your own case, you would use a trained lawyer.

So why use "do-it-yourself" methods to research the needs, beliefs, actions, and effectiveness of your church and community programs?

Use a specialist with training and experience.

To answer some questions you need good measures of knowledge and action.  Other questions need answers based on good measures of attitudes.  It is easy to try to measure attitudes.  It is not easy to measure them well.  Poorly measured attitudes have little or no relationship to behavior.

Measure a person's spiritual state well and you can know where they are on the road to making an impact for Christ.  And what you need to do to help them take the next steps.

Measure their growth (beliefs) poorly and you will still know little about them--though you may mistakenly think you do.  And your efforts to help them grow may be ineffective.

Thus our motto: "Measure What Matters".  Together we can carefully decide what is important and find quality ways to accurately measure that. 

Then we can work on what to do to do good better.