Operational Metrics vs Missional Metrics


The Numbers That Matter

We track numbers in church for two main reasons: to guide operational decisions, and to gauge the effectiveness of our ministries. 

 There is, therefore, value in keeping track of both sides of the coin. But what does that mean?Churches make countless decisions involving numbers, but often without real, factual, objective data. Too often money is spent, buildings are built, and ministries are planned based at least in part on anecdote and incomplete data. We make better operational decisions when they’re informed by high-quality data.


We track numbers in church for two main reasons: to guide operational decisions, and to gauge the effectiveness of our ministries.


The cool thing is today we have tools available to us that can help us make informed decisions. 

If we use our church software to track vital metrics for our ministries, keep good track of everything, and take advantage of even simple tools for understanding the data, we can press all of that information into service when it’s time to make a judgment call.

Let's take a look at two key measurements - metrics - that show the numbers that matter: Operational metrics and missional metrics.


1. Operational Metrics

Operational Metrics - the numbers that help guide your operational decisions - are in many ways easier to measure and simpler to evaluate. Here are some examples of operational metrics:

  • Attendance and capacity: When used in tandem, these numbers can be useful when you are looking at issues like adding a new service, expanding your children’s area, or moving to another venue altogether.
  • What if you were to keep track of children by grade or age or room? All four of these factors can give you usable information. For example, is the 3rd grade room bursting with bodies but the 4th grade room has plenty of empty seats? Should you consider combining these two grades to create a better atmosphere for both?
  • Does the ratio of volunteers to needs in your deacon ministry meet your current standards or do you have areas that are habitually under/over served?
  • Giving in relation to attendance: Taking a look at both these numbers can give you vital information in terms of per-capita giving. If your attendance is growing at a higher rate than your giving, why? Is your church growing with new believers who haven’t yet learned the joy of giving? Is your church relying too heavily on several large donors?


Operational metrics are in many ways easier to measure and simpler to evaluate.


The value of digging below the surface of things and seeing beyond the ordinary-ness of attendance and giving numbers (operational metrics) can be a useful tool in enabling you to see where people are engaged, growing and learning to love Jesus more and more.


2. Missional Metrics

Numbers and ministry effectiveness have a more complicated relationship because spiritual growth is hard to observe directly. This brings us right to Missional Metrics – numbers that reflect how many in your church are fully engaged and growing. A few questions you could ask yourself to give insight into your missional metrics include:

  • How many baptisms did you celebrate this year?
  • Are your youth participating in missions either within or beyond your city?
  • What percentage of your congregation volunteer at your church? Outside of your church?
  • In what capacity are you serving the local schools?
  • How many folks took the step of joining a small group or Sunday School class this year?

Missional metrics are used to understand whether or not people are growing spiritually. This is, of course, hard (if not impossible) to measure. These numbers are trickier to collect and harder to evaluate. But they can give you invaluable information that can enable you to make better informed decisions about your ministries, how you engage people, and ways you can be more effective in multiplying disciples.


Missional metrics are used to understand whether or not people are growing spiritually.


Keeping track of numbers isn’t just for bean counters. If we can define what our goals are, we have the opportunity to evaluate our progress, the chance to see where we have succeeded, and the challenge to improve where we have failed. Multiplying disciples isn’t just an idea – it is a critical mission in which we’re engaged.

As leaders of ministries, it is critical that we have accurate information, that we don’t just have a feeling we’re growing, but know whether or not we are. And where exactly are we growing?

At Church Community Builder we want to help church leaders make and grow disciples by providing the tools and systems you need to track useful numbers, and by providing leadership coaching focused on improving your effectiveness. Effective systems and processes can provide comprehensive insight into the engagement of your church community and close the gaps that allow people to slip away unnoticed.

Topics: This entry was posted in Church Organization

Posted by Church Community Builder on December 01, 2016