Can You Measure Ministry?

Some of you may be breaking out in hives just from the title of this blog. Kudos for forging ahead! Others of you may be looking for ways to get a grip on whether or not what your church does matters. No matter where you fall, you may be pleasantly surprised by what you’re about to read…

What do churches measure?
Historically metrics have largely been attendance and giving. While these are important figures to know, they are not helpful by themselves to determine how effective your church is. For one thing, these are lagging indicators—the results come in after the fact. In addition, these are outside of your direct control. You can’t MAKE people give, for example.

Are those the right things to measure?
Besides the lagging indicators of attendance and giving, the church needs to find leading indicators that are predictive of future growth. For example, what metrics could be predictive of increased attendance and giving?

Guest follow-up could certainly be predictive of return visits and regular attendance. In this case, a good possible leading indicator metric could be time to first contact. Prompt, friendly follow-up is always a good way to get people to come back, and hopefully stick around!

Trust the process.
It is also important to get perspectives on process effectiveness. The percentage of new attendees connected to a group or class can give us a better idea of how well assimilation is working far better than just counting raw numbers.

Volunteer turnover is also an issue for almost every church. How can you tell if you are at risk for losing a ministry-impacting number of people from crucial positions? What if your church had a metric for time in a volunteer role? Do you know when the last time your key volunteers had a break? Something as simple as volunteer attendance tracking could help spot devoted servants who might just need a break.

Experiment with thinking differently about what factors are predictive of the results you want to see as a church. If you need some help, contact one of our church consultants who would love to brainstorm with you!