Your grade six daughter has started at a new school this year. As report card time approaches you are looking forward to seeing how well she has adjusted. The email arrives with the promised report attached. The document reports on the educational degrees of the teacher, the skill level of program delivery and his classroom management. The report goes on to highlight the wide variety of programs available as well as extracurricular activities. The school is able to boast of the availability of athletic and artist options to the students. Then there is the positive financial position of the school, including a note that tuition fees are five percent lower than the average for similar schools.
That’s it? You look at it carefully to make sure there are no additional pages that you have missed – and sadly there are not. The next morning you are on the phone to the head of the school. “All my kid’s report was about the teachers and the programs; but there was nothing about how my daughter is doing in her coursework.” The head of school points to the obvious that you have missed. With such qualified, skilled and experienced teachers, combined with the variety of programming options, it should be obvious that your daughter is receiving a quality education which will of course result in her being prepared for the next semester and the next grade.
Bizarre, ridiculous and beyond the realm of possibility. Yet most of the churches with which I am familiar operate on the same basis as our allegoric school. Churches unpretentiously draw attention to the education of the minister or the pastor, the various programs offered to every demographic of the church, including Bible nursery rhymes for babies, carefully vetted curriculum for children from ages two to eighteen, opportunities for singles between the ages of fifty and sixty-five, home studies somewhere in your end of town every day of the week, seniors programming and theological electives. Yet few churches appear to do for their constituents what any normal school would do in reporting on the progress of its students. No school would assume that qualified and experienced teachers and a broad array of programs would necessarily translate into students being academically positioned to move forward. Yet churches who profess to their desire to see biblical and eternal values instilled into the heart and lives of their congregants never look to discover if that is happening. Church leaders hope – but never investigate to see if what they hope is happening in the lives of their congregants, is really happening.
This blog is not a challenge for churches to look at the implementation of Policy Governance®. (That’s reserved for a later post.) However it is an invitation for church leaders to spend some time taking their eyes off what the church does and what it provides and instead look to see if lives are being commensurately changed for all the efforts that are being made.