Okay, I don’t actually know if you need one or not, but go with me here for a minute. Back in late June, I bought a fitbit for myself. I knew that I need to continue to focus on my health. I liked the idea of a fitbit. It measures daily activity. It helps set daily goals. It tracks progress (or lack of it). It has a social component where I can track how I am doing compared to friends. I wasn’t sure how much I’d like it or how well it would work for me.

I love it.

Since I got it nearly two months ago, it has been off my arm only to charged the battery.

I am constantly assessing how much activity my body is getting. Tracking my progress helps me make sure I get enough steps in for the day. It motivates me to take walks in the evening. I find myself parking in the back of the parking lot or walking to the pool rather than driving the car. I helps me see how sedentary I can be on certain days and help me think of ways to be more active. Nearly all my NextGen staff has one, so we enjoy taunting and encouraging each other every week. I’ve lost a little bit of weight (yes, even after a month long vacation) and I’ve had lots of people ask me if I’ve been losing weight.

Thanks fitbit.

Wait a second, this post isn’t a promotional piece about the fitbit. Well, it could be. You can get one here. No, I’m actually talking about systems. What the fitbit does beautifully is that it creates a system of data tracking that helps me make better decisions. Because I can track my weight on the app, look at the steps I took last week compared to this week and know how I’m doing compared to my peers – I can decide if I need to be even more mindful of what I eat, whether I need to get to bed earlier tonight or if I need to bump up my activity for a few days to get back on track.

Several years ago, I heard my friend and mentor Jim Wideman say that if he didn’t get on the scale every day, he’d gain weight. The same is true for me.

The fitbit is a system of measurement for your health.

Question: Do you have a system of measurement for you ministry? Most people don’t. Let me suggest some questions.

Do you know exactly how many volunteers you have? Do you know how many you need? Do you know your net gain/loss of volunteers this month? Last month? Do you know your current trend? Do you know how many kids were baptized this year over last year? Do you know how many kids were dedicated this year over last year? Do you know how many visitors you had this month over last month? Do you know your retention rate of visitors? Is that rate getting better? Is it getting worse? What does your attendance look like this month of over this same month last year? Do you ever survey your families? Do you know why families are leaving your church? Do you know why they’re staying?

Those are a lot of questions, I know. Some of us will get into a mood and find the answers to all these questions at some point, but few people develop a system of measurement where they have current access to these questions on a weekly or monthly basis.

Knowing the answers to these questions help you know how healthy your ministry is. Knowing the answers to these questions help you make wise decisions.fitbit-dashboard