There are as many approaches and lines of thinking around the idea of ‘measurement’ as there are church leaders out there. Every leader has a different perspective on what measurements mean their ministry efforts are truly making a difference in the lives of people in their churches. But based on the hundreds (if not thousands) of conversations we’ve had with our church partners over the years, there are a handful of areas where consistently measuring progress can empower you and your leadership team to make even more ministry progress.
Here are nine areas to think about measuring consistently:
- Attendance. This may sound like an obvious one, but a surprising number of churches don’t track attendance. Not for worship services, not for small groups, not for events. But these are key metrics, and you need to be tracking who exactly has shown up — not just how many people showed up.
- Mission participation. Who’s getting involved in mission activities? Who isn’t? Who’s indicated that they want to participate in missions but hasn’t done it yet?
- Volunteering. Finding the links between volunteering, attendance, giving, serving, leading, and other activities will give you valuable insights into who’s really engaged with your church and who’s not.
- Online activity. Where are people spending time on your church’s website? How often do people access your online church management software, and what do they do once they get in there? These measurements will help you design a better site and better maximize your church management software.
- Giving. Look at how giving trends change over time. Major shifts in an individual’s giving are signs of spiritual activity … or inactivity.
- Event outcomes. Make sure each and every event you plan is connected to changed lives. Are the time, energy, and resources you’re putting into events ensuring that people really are connecting with God and with each other?
- Connections. Putting people into a one-hour new members class and telling them to call us if they’re interested in ministry isn’t enough. How are you making sure people aren’t falling through the cracks? How are you tracking the connections people are making in our congregation? How are you making sure those connections are lasting?
- Growth. Where is spiritual growth happening in your congregation? In small groups? In service opportunities? Where? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make critical decisions about where you invest resources in the future.
- Attrition. Why are people leaving your church? Do you ever ask? If you do, do you track the answers? Speculation isn’t a good strategy. Asking the question might be painful and awkward, but it can lead to some very necessary changes in the ways you do ministry.
What are you measuring today? What aren’t you measuring? Why? What would you do with the information if you had it?