What to Measure in an Emerging Movement


I felt overwhelmed. How in the world would I gather all this information? I had to answer twenty-five different questions about our disciple making work. While I understood it might be valuable to have that data, it was too much. I put off the request and didn’t complete my report. How do you know what is most important to ask for data on, as you measure the growth of the movement?

It’s an important question to ask. Keep things simple. Only measure what is most important to evaluate. Track what is most valuable in relation to DMM indicators you must see happening if you want to multiply. If you make the process of tracking too complex, it will fail. Your reporting process will not be sustainable.

Should We Measure This?

Many of our teams had not yet seen fourth generation growth. Should we even ask about generational growth when many teams were still only at first or second gen? We already knew that only a few of the teams would be able to say they had seen things reach three or four generations.

If we ask about it, will they aim for it? We were curious. Unsure if this was a good idea or not, we added it to our set of reporting questions. It was a significant change in reporting that led to an increase in generational growth.

Later, we decided to also track whether baptisms were being done by those within the groups. Or, were they done by an outside leader/pastor? This too proved a significant question to ask. Not only did it give us important data which we could then provide coaching and input around. The very question itself encouraged our groups/churches to make changes.

A few years after we started asking about fourth generation groups, we started seeing teams reporting that kind of growth. You get what you ask for. What you decide to measure has a great impact. It’s not about numbers. It’s about tracking the health of your movement and seeing if the “right” things are happening that lead to multiplication growth.

So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

Rom. 14:12 NASB.

What to Measure?

The metrics or indicators you track will shift as the movement grows. When you have only three groups and 40 disciple makers you don’t need to track everything. Some indicators become more important when you are four generations deep. When you are thirteen generations deep and are more than ten thousand, you need to track new things.

Below are ideas to consider. These are not hard, fast rules. Every context is different. Talk with your DMM coach about what is right for your particular context.

1) At the beginning (your first 1st generation and 2nd generation groups start.)

  • # of people or groups praying regularly for a movement to happen
  • # of people in each group
  • # of groups and what generation they are
  • # of (which) people are obeying Christ’s commands ( i.e. baptism, Lord’s Supper, sharing their faith, etc.)
  • # of (which) groups are Discovery Studies and which have transitioned into churches
  • # of groups that began but discontinued
  • # of leaders or people you identify as green and blue people (these are ones you will invest more in)

You may also want to track the number of gospel presentations happening. This would be true if you are using T4T and encouraging people to first make a commitment to Christ then you begin a group around them. If you are forming new Discovery Groups around seekers, you can expect a higher attrition rate. (Attrition means groups start but then fall apart when people don’t decide to follow Christ). Keep track of this attrition so it is not becoming too high of a rate.

When tracking, I find it helpful to clearly identify new growth. We use a red circle for any new groups formed in the last three months. In that way, you can quickly identify older growth and newer growth when you look at the gen chart.

If you notice that in one stream of the movement five new groups started in the last three months, you will want to ask further questions. What is happening that is making the stream grow quickly? What are they doing right that you can encourage in the other streams?

On the other hand, you may see that a group has stalled. Though meeting regularly, no one new is being added. No new groups are being formed by that group’s members. You need to take a different action. Encourage the leader to consider more vision casting to the group members, or increase extraordinary prayer.

2) As your multiply (when you are starting to see 3rd and 4th generations)

At this point, add new indicators and watch them carefully. Be aware though that you don’t overcomplicate things. Keep it simple!

The focus I recommend at this stage is ensuring the groups are transitioning into healthy churches. Every disciple making movement should eventually become a church planting movement. Later we want to see them become Kingdom Movements that transform society and regions.

Things to check on at this stage are:

  • Ensure that regular giving is happening from within each group
  • Baptisms are happening for new disciples regularly and not being delayed. (How many baptisms this month? This is a good indicator to watch)
  • Lord’s Supper is happening within the groups
  • New groups are starting as disciples are trained to find their own Persons of Peace and launch new groups
  • Leadership training, when and where is it happening?

3) When the movement grows rapidly (4th generation groups in multiple streams)

At this point you must look at sustainability issues. Here are some of the things you will want to track.

  • Overall Health of the leaders and fruitful people
  • # of leaders training leaders, # of coaches
  • # of and places where the movement is starting new movements. Where is it jumping across geographic or cultural boundaries to reach new peoples?
  • Signs of community impact and social transformation. (This size of movement should be having Kingdom impact. If it is not, you will want to address that in your leadership training.)

How to Track

See my previous blog about this. Many people use disciple.tools or gen mapper to keep track of their growth. These are great, but a simple chart with circles works too!

If you have specific questions about tracking, reach out to us by email. Or join my regular LIVE Q&A on the DMMs Frontier Missions Facebook page and ask your question.

What did you find most helpful or insightful in the article above?


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