How do you know your BAM project is achieving all it can for the Kingdom of God?
This is a challenging questions to answer for many leaders of BAM projects. Often at a loss as how to measure anything spiritual, it leads to those nebulous statements such as: ‘Jesus is the centre of everything we do’ when questioned.
But it doesn’t have to be nebulous.
It IS possible to measure the progress towards your spiritual goals, but in order to do that you need to know what the target is.
Key Concept– Missional Potential
Not all BAM projects are able to impact for the Kingdom at the same level. When we opened a data entry company that had Christian employees working for Christian customers, we realised that this was a very limited ‘fishing pool’ from which we were able to impact the Kingdom through evangelism. The enterprise just didn’t ‘touch’ many people who were not already Christian.
As a response, we opened a bakery in a much busier part of town. The bakery, by way of the nature of its business model, had many more interactions with people ‘far from God’ and so had much more potential for reaching people for Christ.
Is it fair to expect the data entry business to achieve the same level of spiritual fruit as the bakery? We think not. So what is the standard we are measuring the projects by?
The answer? Each project needs to maximise its missional potential.
The Real Finish Line
By evaluating what the full missional potential is for your project, you now have a target to shoot for. A finish line to work towards.
If we simplify the missional discussion to evangelism only, then the maximum missional potential for the data entry project is understandably far smaller than that of the bakery. At the data entry project, we could potentially reach our suppliers (people who provided and fixed our computers for example), but our customers and staff were already Christians. We would need to look for other areas to impact for the Kingdom of God. Perhaps introducing discipleship for the staff that they could take home, and maybe evangelism training for them to use within their communities outside of work.
The bakery, however, was in a different league of missional potential. Almost every interaction was with someone far from God. We were based in an impoverished community, and both our staff and workers were not Jesus followers. So considering what our outreach goals could be would need to be much more ambitious if we were going to maximise the missional potential of the bakery.
Are Quantifiable Targets Possible?
The idea of maximising your missional potential may be intuitively easy to understand, but how do you lead an organisation to targets without something quantifiable? This may be a primary reason why BAM projects tend to shy away from measuring themselves in terms of spiritual fruitfulness: They do not feel equipped to know how to measure what feels like a God ordained process.
We agree that people coming to Jesus is a God ordained process. At the same time, we feel it is possible to measure the project’s effort of effective exposure (EEE) to the gospel.
Our experience both doing effective outreach ourselves, and also comparing notes with some of the best in the world who do it, is that there are steps that lead to effective evangelism that can measured, and this is where quantifiable goals can be created.
For instance if you use the Four Missional Milestones referenced in the A Case Study – Applying Outreach In Business, it is possible to do analysis on the potential of your project to reach each milestone, and set realistic goals of applying the techniques necessary to reach those milestones through your project.
For example, the first milestone is Connect, with a goal to get to the second milestone Share. Your first step may be to analyse all the potential people your business touches that might be far from God. From there you then analyse how many of those interactions are potential for EEE. You then can set a target for 1) training your Christian team members with the skills for EEE, 2) measuring their performance of achieving EEE in Connect to Share.
Ultimately, you can measure numerically how much of your missional potential you are realising in reaching Connect, and the how many of those reached in the Connect phase are getting to the next milestone Share. From there, you measure how many are moving from Share to the next milestone Gather and on and on. You have now quantified your missional potential and are setting SMART goals that help you understand how much of that potential you are realising.
Understanding your project’s maximum missional potential can be a key step in achieving the Spiritual Bottom Line your project exists to fulfil. It allows you to set realistic goals for your team, and measure outcomes that can then be relayed back to investors, supporters or other key stakeholders who are supporting the project in order to see God glorified through the project.
It also helps to prevent you from going red-faced when asked what you are achieving for the Kingdom as you tell the questioner that ‘Jesus is the centre of everything we do’.