Your church is doing a lot of things – investing time and resources in ministries and events. But how do you know if those investments are bearing fruit?
Chances are, you didn’t become a pastor because you love crunching numbers. And yet, there’s so much our church metrics can tell us about the health of our churches. We don’t want to miss out on what the numbers are telling us.
Why Church Metrics Matter
To paraphrase Pastor Carey Nieuwhof: When it comes to church metrics, to stop counting is to stop caring.
When we know our church metrics, we can make better decisions about the health of our church and which programs are and are not working. We can more easily see our areas of strength and weakness and make adjustments as needed.
This allows us to be better stewards of the resources God has given us.
Which Church Metrics to Measure
Many churches keep track of financial giving and church attendance, but these are only two of the many metrics your church could measure.
While it wouldn’t be possible or practical to measure every metric, by choosing a few key metrics that are important to your church congregation, you can make meaningful improvements in the areas that matter most to you.
You might choose to measure the number or amount of:
- New visitors vs. returning visitors
- People in various classes or programs
- People at each church service
- People who regularly tithe each week
- Recurring vs. one-time donations
- Donations given
- Volunteer hours
- Mission trips taken
- New vs. returning camp visitors
- New memberships
- People involved in small groups
- People who attend a community outreach event
- Books of the Bible you’ve preached on
- People who visit your church website
- Pages people typically visit on your website
- People who search for your church via a website
- People who subscribe to your church email list
- People who like, follow, or engage with your social media pages
How to Analyze Church Metrics
Once you’ve collected some of the numbers listed above, it’s important not to only write them down or share them but to determine what they could mean for the health of your church.
For example, if you notice that the number of baptisms has trended downwards for the last three years in a row, you may ask yourself why or what you could do about it.
For example, do you need to host a sermon series or a class on the importance of baptism? Do you need to host your baptism services more regularly, at a more convenient time, or with greater advance notice?
Once you spot the trends, you’re in a much better position to do more of what’s working and less of what’s not working.
How Church Metrics Can Help Overcome Weaknesses
Every pastor, church staff member, and volunteer naturally has their own giftings and vision for the church. This is wonderful and to be expected!
However, if your church doesn’t have diversity in giftings, it’s easy to overlook some services or roles of the church while overemphasizing others.
By looking at the numbers, you can more clearly see which roles your church is or is not fulfilling, and then hire additional staff, bring on more volunteers, or start new programs to help in areas where you may have previously been dropping the ball.
For example, maybe you love teaching established Christians, but you don’t feel as comfortable evangelizing and bringing in new people. Looking at your church metrics can help you spot this and other trends you might otherwise miss.
Your church doesn’t have to be a mindless machine run by metrics, and you certainly don’t want to take prayer or the guidance of the Holy Spirit out of the equation. However, your church metrics can be an incredibly helpful tool that allows you to better live out God’s mission for your church.