Basic Principle: "Test and Measure"
The basic principle of web commerce is, "Test and Measure." Do the best you can in discerning a need and designing a product or service to meet it, then try your idea and see if it works. This principle is directly applicable to church wellness.
Rather than argue about proposed solutions -- which tends to be a contest of wills between solution proponents, rather than an objective assessment of ideas -- let the marketplace speak.
Behind the basic principle of "test and measure" is a conviction that an institution ought to do what works and stop doing what doesn't work. As a steward of limited resources, a church cannot justify continuing programs that few are attending or offering services that few utilize.
We need objective tools for discerning what works, what doesn't work, and what needs to change. Those aren't tools for pouncing and blaming, but for assessing our performance in meeting actual needs.
We call those tools "metrics," or measurements.
Measurements ease our fear of failure by promising prompt discernment of false assumptions, inadequate planning or conceptual gaps, and facilitate prompt remediation. An idea's proponent won't be "hung out to dry" with an idea that has missed the mark but cannot be dropped.
"Test and measure" recognizes that reality isn't always responsive to our plans and actions. Nor are our planning and execution flawless.
A second basic principle is that, for metrics to be indicative and trustworthy, we must gather data regularly and fearlessly. Numbers need to be accurate and consistently gathered. A negative number isn't to be avoided for fear of offending someone or admitting failure.
Measuring needs to be a staff priority to ensure consistent and accurate data collection.
After verifying the accuracy of data, leaders need to make the data available to all. The data and resulting accountability must be shared by the entire congregation.
We need to remove data as a political weapon. When people disagree, as they always will, let it be about opinions, not facts; or about analysis of facts, not the numbers themselves.