Every Monday morning the Church Community Builder leadership team gathers to review our numbers from the previous week. Like you, we are passionate about what we do because of the chance to make an impact in this world we live in. The stories we hear about churches we have helped is what truly inspires us, not numbers, statistics, and data.
However, we can often use the human elements of ministry as an excuse for ignoring important numbers. Data, statistics, and numbers directly reflect what is happening within and through your ministry. Our "weekly numbers review" is what helps us really know that we are making a measurable difference in the lives of those who serve with us and the churches we partner with.
"Data, statistics, and numbers directly reflect what is happening within and through your ministry."
Here are the 9 areas that help you assess health via church member engagement and retention:
Tracking attendance may seem obvious, but there are many churches that don’t – and an accurate understanding of attendance gives an overview of how many people are involved, where they go while on campus, which ministries are growing, and which are in decline.
- Volunteers are your front line, and many of these people will eventually make their way toward missional ministries – taking a direct role in expanding the church’s impact. Tracking their involvement and how well they serve will reveal a lot about the retention rate of your church. By tracking and ministering to volunteers, churches can reduce unnecessary turnover. Regular contact with this group will avert crises.
3. Missional Participation.
Service projects are one-time service events like volunteering at a local homeless shelter. Ongoing ministries, on the other hand, are continuous, requiring a deeper commitment. And people who are involved in service projects are more likely to serve in ongoing ministry – but only if their participation is tracked to determine their individual interest level. By recording service project participation, you can invite people to participate in other ministry options that match these interests and abilities, as indicated by their individual track record.
4. Online Activity.
Tracking your church’s digital presence highlights great opportunities to engage and retain your members. The availability of analytics for your website makes it easy to monitor online activity and provide a friendly online gathering space to gain invaluable insight into your retention efforts; know what the people in your church community are viewing and what they are missing (or ignoring!).
5. Financial Giving
- People who are growing in their relationship with God are likely to give to support the ministry of your church. When people are in a growing relationship with God, they will want to give and serve. This is evidence people believe in the ministry of the church and will continue to support it. Though the analysis of financial data can be a touchy subject, there are some valuable trends that can be identified in the frequency and consistency of an individual’s giving pattern.
6. Event Outcomes.
Events should work with and toward the mission of your church, and can offer a lot by way of insight if you track participation by individual. Encourage people to register for the event and then check in upon arrival. When you connect your events to retention through data analysis, you’ll have events that promote participation, retention, and your church’s mission.
Assimilation is the measure of how well we keep up with faces and names – and by analyzing assimilation, you’ll soon discover the differences between the behaviors of attendees and those of the active members who help to establish the culture of your church community. Tracking assimilation allows you to differentiate between attendees and active disciples.
Spiritual development is at the core of who we are and what we do in ministry. It can be measured – but not by numbers; people need to be known in order to track and measure their spiritual growth. You want to know how each individual moves from uninvolved to involved, from non-giver to giver, and from watching to serving to then focus on how to best provide a context and environment that fosters and nurtures their spiritual growth.
- Attrition is the opposite of retention. If you know how many people you are retaining, you can ascertain your attrition rate. Often, we have to measure our failures to discover new, yet-untapped ministry opportunities. And when done properly, analysis of the attrition rate in your church can lead to new ministry opportunities that might otherwise have been missed. Learning and recording why people have left the church can help us adjust and create a better future.
It’s our job as church leaders to invest in our people at the individual level so our ministries can continue to expand, advance, and enhance the Kingdom. As pastors and church leaders, that is our calling – our people – and it’s why we got into ministry. We have to work our numbers so we can, in turn, make those numbers work for the greater good of the Kingdom.
Because ultimately, retaining church members is about stewardship, and we must assume the privilege of leading God’s people with great care if we want God to continue to bless and grow our ministries.
By tracking these 9 key areas, you will learn what needs to happen inDownload your free copy of "7 Ways to Reach More People" order to increase the retention of people and the health of your church. Learn more about best practices on how to move your first-time visitors from guest to engaged by downloading the full free resource.
Of these 9 areas, what surprised you? Is there any area that you hadn’t considered tracking before?