Goodhart’s Law

Goodhart’s law states: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.

I heard a story of a municipality in India had a huge problem with rats. In order to get rid of them, the ruler decided to award persons with payment, according to the number of rats killed. He would accept the tails of the rats as proof in exchange for payment.

Time passed and the problem persisted, even though many people were awarded and he had accumulated many tails. The number of rats should have shrunken at least proportionally to the amount of tails.

He later witnessed a lot of rats without tails running around and found out that people were raising rats for their tails to take advantage of the opportunity and letting them go.

This reminds me of how excellence is measured in the church. A “good” Pastor is measured by how well he or she speaks and how many persons are baptized. Good pastors are retained and “bad” ones are fired. However this measure doesn’t sum up the entire role of Pastorhood. This measure over-promotes one aspect of a good Pastor and allows for an inaccurate measure of performance.”

The word Pastor is closely related to the word shepherd. It would follow that a good Pastor should be rated against the qualities he shares with the Good Shepherd. The Bible contrast the qualities of a shepherd and a hireling in John chapter 10.

When the wolf comes the hireling runs away , but the good shepherd cares for his sheep.

Another passage shows a man leaving his 99 sheep to go after the one which was lost. In Matthew chapter 18 it shows that the shepherd after searching and finding his lost lamb, celebrates finding the one lost

I believe that as the Bible shows us a good shepherd cares for the sheep, protects them from danger, and seeks out the ones that are lost.

We should measure a pastor by his nurturing and retention skills. Not all pastors are evangelists as 1 Cor 12 (:27-31)

The question is this: how do we measure this?

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