If you are an old year reviewer and new year resolver, this is the week you start. I know because I am one. I already started tracking what I eat ... again. And Sunday, I started my plan to read the New Testament through this year on weekdays and the Old Testament in three years on weekends.
Based on my track record, I'm confident in my Bible reading goals. But, I'm not as confident in food tracking. Oh, I bet I'll lose some pounds, but once I'm at a weight I'm content with, I'll probably stop tracking ... again. What's the difference?
For me, my time in the Word and journaling is not about accomplishing some objective like reading the Bible in a certain amount of time. It's about an interactive relationship with my Father and CEO. I live for that.
However, as I think about it, food tracking is about accomplishing a specific objective - lose 15 pounds. Once I'm there (or close to it) food tracking has achieved its purpose, at least in my mind, and I'm less inclined to continue.
That makes me wonder about the tracking we do as a company and the tracking we help churches do. Why do we track what we track? Is tracking an objective to achieve or a relationship to enjoy? And, what difference does it make?
When tracking something is an objective to achieve, then once that objective is reached, it's time to celebrate that benchmark and set a new, higher goal to work toward. We have been trained to think about tracking this way. It's the way to grow a business and it's the way to grow a church.
If either a business or a church grows 20% for many years, then it gets the attention of the industry and community. It is considered a success and everyone wants to learn its secrets so that they too can grow by 20%. The business is now optimized to sell. The church is now ready to do conferences, and it's pastor travels and writes more to expand the Kingdom of God.
Then they have to set higher goals.
What if tracking was more like an interactive relationship with a Father / CEO? Ecclesiastes 3 has been around a long time.
What if instead of tracking to achieve the goal of 20% market share or of being a church of 200 or 2,000, we saw tracking as an indicator of a season we are in?
We all know that a season is a different part of the year based on God's design for creation. We track these by changes by the weather, hours of daylight, and ecology. And, depending on where you live, how you dress and control the temperature of your house changes accordingly.
If God is really creator of our business or church, then seasons are part of His design there too. They are indicators of His creative vision and strategy for the organizations we lead. We need to adjust how we dress and how we live accordingly.
But, first we need to learn how to recognize seasonal changes. This is the role of tracking and reports. This will be the topic of our first blog series in 2023, beginning next week.