A stream is a collection of movement/kingdom work that includes baptisms, disciples, and churches in one or many locations.
The Streams tool used here follows some of the patterns seen in the Book of Acts.
The church of Jerusalem would be a stream conceptually. It was not a single meeting place, but rather a collection of house churches, a collection of disciples, and a collection of activities like baptisms. They could all be broken down more, but you could say the church of Jerusalem (as a stream) had 3000 baptisms, 5000 disciples and 500 house churches in AD 34. (Or something like that) And then they could report their numbers for the AD 35, and AD 36, etc.
Then the movement jumped to Antioch (another stream), where you could say the same thing about the church of Antioch, that it represented a number of house churches, a number of disciples, and a number of disciples in a certain year. This stream would be a “child stream” of the church of Jerusalem.
The the church of Antioch generated a child stream in Ephesus through the work of Paul. And on it goes.
Streams represents a “census” style collection of information on the movement and it’s different parts. Like Moses used “census” to count the number of the tribes SO THAT each tribe would get their inheritance. Movements count the movement SO THAT leaders can properly understand and serve the people of God towards their inheritance.
Census reporting is a “top down” reporting. It attempts to collect big picture information with the smallest investment of each of the reporters. There is a way of collecting data “bottom up”, which involves each person using a tools, like Disciple Tools or Seed Sower, to track their daily movement activity. As this daily work is done, the reporting can flow up to a big picture. Both kinds of reporting have strengths and weaknesses.
The goal of this reporting system is to provide the wide and diverse movement efforts in North America with a way to quickly give a snapshot of the activity and movement of God in their different areas, and share it to a community map and promote solidarity and big picture knowledge of what is happening.