Some people believe that faith and formulas can’t coexist. And on a topical level, that perception makes sense. Faith is about trust and belief, and using metrics for matters of the heart can feel emotionally and spiritually disconnected.

But beyond the Bible’s references to honest measures, this quote puts a fine point on exactly why metrics perfectly intersect with ministry:

 “The shepherd doesn’t say, ‘I have around 100 sheep.’ He knows he has exactly 100, and that is why he goes looking for the lost sheep when he only counts 99. Numbers matter because they represent lives.”

Data won’t provide all the answers, but it helps us better understand what we can learn from what we are seeing. Ask yourself, “How can we take this ‘metric’ to the next level – and what does it mean?”

Churches that do discipleship well have very simple, intentional processes in place because measuring discipleship doesn’t have to be complex.


Here are four critical metrics that can tell you the health of discipleship in your church:

1. Attendance

And more specifically, attendance by first- and second-time guests. While this is where measuring discipleship begins, it is also the most overlooked. Put a process in place to track, connect and engage newcomers.

2. Serving

Serving is a sign of action in a relationship with Christ – and ‘action’ suggests intentional discipleship. A system can connect volunteers with serving opportunities and then track their involvement over time.

3. Groups

This could be a new members class, an outreach event, or what is often the most significant level of engagement – a small group. Do you know who is showing up at these deeper levels of engagement using management software?

4. Giving

Giving tells you that people are going deeper in their relationship with Christ and your church. Be sure to express gratitude every time someone gives – especially for the first time – and evaluate their giving trends over time.


Intentionally tracking these four areas using church software can equip leaders with valuable information to support ministry and discipleship – and doesn’t have to be complicated. The more information you have, the more equipped you are to make ministry decisions and be the best steward you can be with the people God has entrusted to you.