Measuring the Impact of Mobile Ministry

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Continuing down the hole of understanding the implications of life at the intersection of faith and mobile technology, I came across an article that puts forth some perspectives around some research that has sought to quantify the actual change from connectivity and communication technologies advancement over the past decades. According to the post over at Irving Waldawsky-Berger (Measuring the Forces of Long Term Change), Deloitte’s Center for the Edge has published this first in 2009, and again in 2011 – so it is relatively new in terms of research. The findings reach backwards well though upon inspection and do leave much to consider about the benefits of communicaitons and technogical change, with and without the human element.

As I read that post, I was prompted to investigate the profitability of mobile ministry along similar pillars. Granted, this isn’t a field that has much length of change, let alone can be said to be as disruptive as some would like at this point. But, this magazine has been in the business of making introspective looks at the validity of this approach, and throwing itself against the wall to see what sticks. Here’s what sticks as suitable measuring sticks for this approach:

The Foundation index captures the first wave. It measures the fast moving advances in technology performance and infrastructure penetration, as well as the shifts of global public policy that are reducing the barriers to entry and movement. The Foundation index has been growing at a ten percent CGR since 1993, and is the primary driver of all the other changes.

The second wave, represented by the Flow index is designed to measure the flows of capital, talent and knowledge across institutional and geographic boundaries that have been enabled by the first wave. In the past, our stocks of knowledge, – what we know, – was a great source of economic value. This is no longer the case, because the increasing rate of change all around us is rapidly obsolescing knowledge. Therefore, the real economic value has now moved from the stocks of knowledge to the flows of new knowledge that we are now able to quickly acquire, and thus refresh and expand our rapidly depleting stocks of knowledge.  Since 1993 the Flow index has been growing at seven percent CGR. 

The Impact index is a measure of the transformations underway in markets, firms and people. It aims to quantify the ways the overall economic environment is changing, as well as how those changes impact companies and individuals. This third wave has been significantly lagging the first two, growing at a much slower 1.5 percent CGR since 1993. The intensified competition and increased pressure on business performance caused by the first two waves accounts for the lagging growth of the third wave.

It makes some sense right: Foundaton, Flow, and Impact. Go back to the mobile ministry methodology. There, you have a process for iterating throughout a mobile ministry-focused project. But, the measuring of what is success or not kind of sticks on the point of whether you make it through the project or not. If you add the filters of Foundation, Flow, and Impact to your goals for the project, there is a good chance the you would be better able to see the full-impact (long-term, if using these in context) for your efforts.

Part of the problem with that is that these measurements are long-term in context. To date, I don’t know one mobile ministry project that isn’t tightly focused on the short-term. In fact, that’s part of the problem with many of the projects, their aim is to enable something to happen through technologies or processes that works at a speed which is much more towards a human-scale.

Time is the sticky in all of this. What is the value of time in relation to mobile ministry? What about time are you trying to alter someone else’s perception within mobile ministry activities? Perhaps, something I wrote on my personal blog fits here as well:

…For years, I have been trying to understand the intersection of faith and mobile tech, but didn’t realize until a few minutes before writing this that it was all about time. Does the use of mobile invite someone to redeem time in their life to live the faith they have bubbling on the inside of them? Chances are, it doesn’t. And all of these layers (apps, media, services, sign ups, etc) to make mobile the right channel is ultimately a failure to understand and speak to what actually matters. Time to live…

Every miracle that Jesus did add time to the lives of others. When you are measuring the Impact of your mobile ministry efforts, do you see the same? Or, are you more applicable to the Foundation and Flow aspects of change? If so, those rates are much faster than people, and probably should be regarded a bit less until change happens.