5 Important Metrics for the Future of Your Church

Posted by Aaron Buer on May 9, 2019

I grew up loving baseball.

I loved playing it and I loved tracking it.

Baseball is the ultimate sport for statistics.

I am fascinated by all the different stats that are tracked.

Stats are metrics.

They tell you how a player is doing.

  • A .300 batting average shows a player is a solid hitter
  • A 2.00 ERA…we are talking about a dominant pitcher
  • 100 RBIs is a sign of a player who comes through in the clutch
  • 40 home runs in a season is the mark of a true power hitter

I could go on and on but you get the idea.

Baseball statistics are interesting because they reveal how a player is doing.

These days, I’m fascinated by church statistics.

Again, because they help us see how our church is doing.

Are we growing and improving?

Most of the time we focus on two numbers: giving and attendance.

To be sure, these are very important numbers.

However, they only tell part of the story and are often lag measures, meaning they reflect something else that is going on.

Now, there are a bazillion metrics we could focus on as we lead our churches, but I believe these 5 will reveal what’s really going and will help your church grow.

1. Staff & Volunteer Engagement

The number one influencer of your church’s health and growth is leadership.

Great churches have great leaders.

And how do you know if your church has great leadership?

It’s not in how well known your pastor is or how great a preacher he or she is.

It has everything to do with whether or not people are following.

Something we do every year is survey our staff and volunteers (two separate surveys) to measure engagement.

We ask for feedback around communication, vision, satisfaction, training, etc.

Essentially, we’re trying to learn how well our people are responding to leadership.

In our experience these surveys have helped us identify trouble spots before they become huge problems.

The bottom line here is that if your staff and volunteers are onboard with leadership, you are on the right track. The question is:

Do you know?

2. Average Age

Something we measure is the average age of our congregation.

There are different ways to go about this but here are some ways we track this:

  1. We track the average age of our adult congregation through surveys on strategic weekends.
  2. We measure our average age, year over year, to learn if and how we are aging.
  3. We measure our average age against our surrounding community to determine if we reflect our community or if we are out of sync.

In my experience, this data is helpful in measuring future health as a church.

For example, if you find that you are aging rapidly and that your congregation is becoming much older than your surrounding community, you may want to ask why this is happening and if there are ways to alter the trend.

If you are looking for help in this area, I highly recommend connecting with The Fuller Youth Institute and the book Growing Young.

3. Online Giving

Giving is obviously a hugely important data point when it comes to the health of our churches.

Often, we ask, “How can we increase giving?” I think a better question to ask is, “How can we increase online giving” because online giving is far more consistent.

For example, if your church is anything like our church, giving has traditionally dipped during the summer months because of vacations, cottages and lake houses.

People who normally donate don’t because they aren’t in the building.

However, since we began focusing on online giving as a key measurable, our giving has stabilized because a high percentage of our people have set up reoccurring giving or give through text giving when they watch our livestream while on vacation.

What I’m trying to say is that your yearly budget could be dramatically impacted through more stable giving if you focus on increasing the percentage of your people who give online.

4.Percent of People Involved in Key Activities

The greatest sign of health in your church is not how many people are showing up for weekend services but how your attenders are engaging in key discipleship activities.

What are the church activities that you believe lead to spiritual growth?

For us, it is

  • Small Groups
  • Giving
  • Serving

You might think we are dead wrong. That’s fine. You get to pick your own. But whatever they are, what percentage of your people are involved in them? One of our most critical metrics is, what percentage of our people are fully engaged in all three?

The goal is not to increase attendance but to increase engagement because engagement drives everything else. So, what are your key activities that facilitate discipleship and how can you increase engagement?

5. Guest Percentage

One last metric to track.

What percentage of your attendance on any given weekend includes guests?

This is a good predictor of growth. If you are experiencing a high number of guests during your weekend services, this is a good sign that your congregation is inviting friends and that your church has a good reputation in the community.

If you are not seeing many guests, it might be time to ask good difficult questions.

The good news is that guest percentage is an early indicator of attendance growth or decline and so there may be time to adjust course before you actually see lower numbers in your services.

Wrap Up

There are a lot of numbers that we could measure and this list doesn’t include all of the helpful metrics out there.

In fact, there may be one or two that I left out that you believe are critical indicators of health in your church.

We’d love to hear about them. Feel free to continue the conversation in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Topics: Advice

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