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How Do You Measure Success?

Faith-based organizations have, for too long, adopted a secular business model for gauging their effectiveness. This is the conclusion of Gary Hoag, Scott Rodin and Wesley Wilmer in their short but provocative book, The Choice (Winchester, VA: ECFAPress, 2014).


In place of a results-based framework that often equates effectiveness with numerical growth, the authors suggest instead focusing on obedience.

They draw a sharp contrast between two paths. One consists of doing everything within our power in order to meet predetermined targets of effectiveness; the other, in humbly doing what we believe God expects of us. 

We can’t have both. In the words of Hoag, Rodin, and Wilmer:

What we have discovered is that if we go after the former, we miss the mark because we are aiming at the wrong target. When we idolize results that we think please Him, we actually fail to exhibit the obedience He asks of us.

The authors challenge leaders today to take the second path, which is characterized by: 

  1. Steward Leadership 
  2. Faithfulness-Focused Strategies
  3. Eternity-Oriented Metrics
  4. Relationship-Based Management
  5. A Stewardship View of Resources

How do you measure success?

This question is often put to leaders of faith-based organizations, who just as often tend to rely on short-term quantifiable results to justify what they are doing. The Choice makes a strong case for answering this question differently. 

Image courtesy of: Measuring by Ania Mendrek, on Flickr
Brent Fulton

Brent Fulton

Brent Fulton is the founder of ChinaSource. Dr. Fulton served as the first president of ChinaSource until 2019. Prior to his service with ChinaSource, he served from 1995 to 2000 as the managing director of the Institute for Chinese Studies at Wheaton College. From 1987 to 1995 he served as founding …View Full Bio

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