What to do when you want to see different results (3 of 3)

Kobe Bryant is one of the greats. He led the entire NBA in scoring for two whole seasons and ranks #3 for all-time season scoring. He is a phenomenon. 

He is also a conundrum. Despite being a record holder for dominating the basket, he is far and away the least valuable scoring champion according to win shares. His high scores simply did not produce the winning games and winning seasons that he and the Lakers would have thought.

This gives me pause as an Assimilation Director. Is it possible for our assimilation environment (our "one program") to be stuffed with people, lots of energy, and stellar evaluations and still not connect people to in a big way to small groups and ministry teams?

As Sherpas who lead people toward meaningful connections at your church, we need to keep this principal in mind: there is a difference between your program's scorecard, and your ministry's scoreboard. Forgetting this can make assessing the effectiveness of what is really happening in your assimilation ministry very confusing and complex. Remembering this can clear the air, provide direction, and move you into new results. 

There is a difference between your program's scorecard, and your ministry's scoreboard.

As in all team sports, an athlete can hold records in many areas and still have a team that is losing games. In assimilation ministry it is the same. At my church, assimilation is helping a first time guest become a connected serving member. Connected=in a small group (scoreboard 1). Serving =on a ministry team (scoreboard 2). It doesn't matter how great the stats are at Next Steps (my scorecard) or how many connection cards we receive at Guest Central (another scorecard). If guests are not becoming part of a small group and/or ministry team, we are not winning the game.

When your scorecard looks good, you may be in danger if you are not keeping your eyes on the scoreboard. When you want to see different results in your ministry, you have to ask the kind of questions that move you beyond personal and programatic satisfaction. Questions like:

  1. How many guest cards did we receive this year? 
  2. How many new people did we add to small groups this year?
  3. How many new volunteers did we add this year?
  • Divide number 2 by number 1 and you have your assimilation ratio for small groups (EX: 100 cards divided by 50 new people in groups=1 out of 2)
  • Divide number 3 by number 1 and you have your assimilation ratio for ministry teams (see previous example)

This is your scoreboard, regardless of how well attended your assimilation program is.

This provides the baseline for how to measure, and set goals to increase the number of people you assimilate. To see new results, keep your team's consistent focus here.

Here is an example of how scoreboard over scorecard focus can help you make decision that change results.

We had our largest Next Step Experiences ever in March. We offer Next Steps during 2 of our services. The energy from lots of people in the room resulted in the highest evaluations we have ever received. Guests loved it. However, in order to continue in my relentless pursuit of 1 out of 4 guests assimilated (think the results Jesus described  in the parable of the soils), we are now experimenting with the adding of a Next Steps offered during a third service. 

Some of our team members expressed concern that the positive energy that brought our evals up to 10 would decrease to an 8. Though I shared the concern, I realized it was scorecard thinking. So I added another Next Steps, knowing it would reduce the size of the others offered, with the hope of connecting more guests overall. The deciding factor became a choice between 2 potential realities:

Reality 1: Keeping Evals at a 10 but connecting less guests to small groups and ministry teams (Scorecard)

Reality 2: Reducing evals to an 8 but possibly connecting more of our guests to groups and teams (Scoreboard)

I chose reality 2 with a trial run where we can measure if in fact our scoreboard will be affected so we can actually win the game when it comes to the number of guests we connect. We'll evaluate over the next 2 months.

That's scoreboard thinking. It also means you don't have to be a Kobe to win the game.

Of course, good processes support and bring about the good results you are after over time. My next post will focus on the different kinds of process breakdown you may be experiencing and what you need to ask yourself to make simple and thorough repairs. 

To really see new results, join a select group of colleagues from all over the US to identify new strategies and shifts in your assimilation ministry on May 11-12 in sunny Southern California. This Base Camp will be a powerful way to affect real change on your scoreboard!




  • What is the scorecard on your assimilation environment right now? What stats are relevant on that card?
  • What are your current assimilation ratios? (Use formula listed above to see your scoreboard).
  • What dial turns could you make in your assimilation program that would better connect guests to your small groups? (Scoreboard 1)
  • What dial turns could you make in your assimilation program that would better onboard volunteers to your ministry teams? (Scoreboard 2)
Greg CurtisComment