The Right Metrics in Church
As we look at the new year there is excitement of the possibilities of what it will bring. Most of us have closed the physical and mental books of last year. In order to stop the cycle of “end of the year depression” and “beginning of year highs” is to start using the right metrics for success in churches. If you are part of a church, leading a ministry in a church or even pastoring a church you can agree that we measure success on different metrics than the Bible. The question is usually, “How many are you running on Sundays?” or we talk about finances. If you are a small church then you kind of make up your own metrics. You talk about the outreach event you accomplished or how many responded to the altar call. The point is that we have to change the metrics of what we consider “successful.” I had a professor who would say all the time, “Thousands pack out sports arena’s because they have great entertainment. They yell, they get loud, they play music and enjoy the sport but nothing spiritual is really happening.” I am afraid that could be many of our churches in America. What really matters in churches?
I don’t have all the answers. We are on a journey at Thrive to discover these metrics for our body of believers. Here are just a few of the metrics that we matter. If you want to find some great statistics to follow then pick up Bob Franquiz’ book, “Pull.”
The following metrics are what we give in our annual report each year to our partners.
Metrics to change the “scorecard:”
Baptisms versus Average Attendance:Don’t just say how many you are attending on Sundays, but talk about how many have been baptized versus your average attendance. A healthy church has 15%+ of their attendance baptized in that year. So, instead of asking, “How many you running?” Ask, “How many have we baptized this year and in the last 5 years against our average attendance?”
Small Group % Participation versus Average Attendance: You should be measuring how many of your people are engaged in small groups versus your average attendance. A church should set a high mark on this one. Plan and pray to have 40%+ of your people involved. Talk to the congregation about it. Ask them to pray with you about it. Make it the norm.
Actively Serving in the Church Body versus Average Attendance: Another important metric is looking at how many are serving on a team in the church versus your attendance. In the same manner as small groups, this metric should have a high bar. You should pray and plan for 40%+.
Small Groups that are Actively Involved in the Community Each Semester or Year (depending on your group structure): We have a standard that every small group, we call Community Groups, have to engage their community each semester. They pray, get ideas and find creative ways to engage their community. This takes the small group participation % to another level.
The Ways Your Church is Engaging Your Community: Each church should have a unique niche of how they engage their community. It may be just one thing and that is fine. But always reflect on how your church is actively engaged in your community.
Salvations: Enough said.
Baptisms versus the number of Salvations: You should be measuring how many baptisms you have versus the number of salvations. For instance in 2013 we had 125 salvations and 48 baptisms. That is about 38%. If you have a high number of salvations but a very low baptism rate then that shows that people are not taking the next step after surrendering to Christ.
Membership: Now I know what you are thinking… Yes! We have 500 on our membership roll. The issue is that you only have 200 attending. In the 50-90’s we had the mindset of “stacking” the membership roll. We are in a season now where we are making it harder for people to become a “member.” We use the term “partner.” You have to go through 101 and 201 before you can sign up for partnership. Partnership for us is where you acknowledge God has called you to partner with the vision at Thrive. We have about 31% of our attenders that are partners. They are the extreme navy seals of our church. You should strive to have a process for membership, set the bar high and give them the next step after membership. Our next step is that you will now be on our Dream Team. You will be asked to lead and mentor.
Have you noticed the big difference in these metrics? They are all percentage based. It doesn’t matter how many you have showing up to a show on Sunday but the idea of actively making disciples. Take some time to review these metrics. Use these as your new scorecard. When someone asks how your church is doing, don’t blab just about nickels and noses, but talk about the % involved in serving, groups, baptized and partners. Change the scorecard!