A Guide to Measuring Church Health in the Modern World
Accurately measuring your church’s health is an essential aspect of continuing your ministry. When doing this, however, are numbers all that matter? Revenue is obviously an important consideration, but what about emotional connections and overall strength? The following information can help you measure your congregation’s health by determining growth, audience and other important factors.
What Doesn’t Indicate Church Health?
It’s important to recognize which measures are typically viewed as indicators of church health but don’t quite meet the requirements. Many ministries look at the number of filled seats, for instance, even though this doesn’t tell you how many parishioners are actually reached. Could your packed pews be filled with uninterested and unfulfilled members?
An occupied seat doesn’t necessarily mean someone is being led to God. Consider these additional methods of measuring church health that also don’t quite hit the mark:
- Amount of on-hand funds: You certainly need revenue to function as a ministry, but this isn’t the be-all and end-all of your ministry’s health. You can have far less than the $31.7 million that Joel Osteen spends each week on services/programs and still have a strong congregation.
- Opinions of devoted followers: Devoted followers will do anything from helping run programs to implementing methods of increasing virtual tithes. Unfortunately, they’re also likely to say only good things about the church. You need completely unbiased opinions as well.
- Amount of church activities: Hosting activities that are well-attended is a great sign of church health, but when looked at on its own, this doesn’t tell you much. A full event calendar means little without other supporting factors.
All these numbers could indicate a strong and healthy church, but they could also be misleading. You should certainly keep track of visitors, overall attendance, offerings and volunteers; but remember that a host of separate indicators are more telling. The following are the most important, but with coaching at DonorWerx, you can learn the intricacies of all potentially related elements.
How to Really Measure Church Health
Now that you’ve discovered that the most commonly cited factors of church health could be deceptive, what exactly are you supposed to focus on? Especially during times of crises – such as COVID-19 – when virtual church ideas are the prevailing necessity? Consider the following as important ways to measure church health:
Get to Know Your Audience
Understanding the demographics of your church is important, and this goes far beyond things like income or location. Fortunately, most of the information you need can be garnered by conducting a survey. Everything from ethnicity to level of education should be asked, and if you’re worried about being too personal, just make the questions elective or anonymous.
In addition to key demographics, consider the following questions that will eventually help you boost revenue through donor surveys:
- Length of time they’ve attended this church.
- Do they make a habit of inviting others?
- Do they volunteer for the church, and if so, how often?
- Their self-described current spiritual state.
- Their greatest spiritual need that needs filling.
By making these responses anonymous, you can ensure you’re receiving the most honest answers. In the end, you’ll learn how many people you’re reaching, attendance growth rates, and whether your ministry is meeting the spiritual needs of the congregation.
By viewing the number of new members in the ministry along with the growth of your current parishioners, you’ll have a solid understanding of both internal and external church health.
Are Members Becoming Leaders?
It feels good to look out at packed pews in any church. A more important metric, however, is how many of these individuals are taking leadership and discipleship roles in the church. Mark 1:17 tells us “Come. Follow Me,” Jesus said. “I will make you fishers of people.” Bringing others to God should entail creating new leaders.
What many people don’t understand, though, is that this isn’t some instantaneous process. Looking at how Peter and Andrew became leaders is important, because it shows us that it’s a process that occurs over time. Jesus didn’t just reach out to random believers to become disciples of his church, and little has changed since those early days of Christianity.
This is why your church health is also dependent on creating disciples and leaders. Seek out members that are receiving lessons on discipleship, and for a more direct approach, create a mentorship program that offers knowledge and coaching to better create personal relationships. Leadership development should be a key metric when measuring your ministry’s growth and overall health.
Are Lives Being Changed?
Statistics at your church can give you a good idea of how things are going, but a successful ministry is more than just numbers. It really comes down to whether lives are being improved. Are people finding their way to Salvation in your congregation? You should track this information along with other important factors – such as baptisms, repaired marriages, mission impact and community transformation.
Fortunately, there are many ways to measure this metric. Start by reaching out to the leaders in your ministry and asking what’s going on in the church. Touch base directly with your members and ask directly, “What has God done for you?” You should also strive to transform your local community and maintain information on completed projects.
Each of these key indicators can be immensely informative when trying to measure church health. And with the DonorWerx Strategic Development Process, you can better pinpoint which messages will speak deeply to separate congregants.
Is the Church Moving Forward?
None of these metrics will amount to much if you don’t use them properly. Even if you know you’ve improved your young adult ministry, for instance, it’s the data you gather that will help you repeat this success in other parts of your ministry. And while knowing the attendance numbers from week to week is beneficial, you can go beyond this by delving deeper.
When looking at your attendee numbers, for instance, how many are taking the time to serve the community or your church? How many are teenagers or younger? How many of these parishioners actually donate or participate? These numbers are what really show whether your church is trending upwards over the long-term.
By combining all this data, you can also discover better ways to market your church in order to increase donations. DonorWerx can help you do this through our Strategic Development Process. Around 98 percent of church revenue comes from tithes and donations, so succeeding in this area is essential.
Make Your Church’s Health a Top Priority
There are innumerable factors we could consider in measuring overall church health, but it’s the metrics, insight and data you collect that tells the real story. Running a church can be a daunting task, but if you’re not monitoring these issues, you’re creating more hurdles for yourself. Make these elements a top priority at all times to ensure positive growth.