It’s difficult for churches to measure the things that truly matter. How do you measure the number of transformed lives in your congregation or the increase of spiritual fruit over last year?
But if there are no real measurements in place, you’ll never know what’s working or what you can improve. Your church still needs to track the right church metrics to gauge how successful your efforts are.
Attendance is the metric that churches tend to focus on the most. But if you want a true glimpse into the health of a church, the size of your Sunday-morning crowd can’t be the only number you’re monitoring.
If you want to get a real look under your church’s hood, here are five other church metrics you should consider watching:
1. What percentage of attendees are members?
Attendance is important for measuring the effectiveness of outreaches and community involvement, but you also need to know if you’re converting visitors into members. If this metric isn’t monitored, there’s no way of knowing how well you’re appealing to visitors.
You can measure this by monitoring the growth of your attendance against your membership numbers. If everything’s working the way it’s supposed to, an increase of visitors at the beginning of the year should lead to growth in committed members after about six months. If not, it’s time to take a close look at what you’re doing to engage visitors.
If you’re using church management software, these numbers should be easy to pull. If you’re not, consider investing in a good ChMS.
2. What percentage of members are involved in a small group?
Sunday morning services don’t always provide enough exposure to the Christian community to transform lives. People need to be involved with each other throughout the week, and that’s where small groups come in. Measuring the number of members who are involved in your small groups tells you whether or not you’re creating a culture where people want to share their lives with others.
It’s best to set an ambitious goal for the percentage of members you’d like to see actively involved in your small group program. An optimistic but reasonable goal is 75 percent. Once you have that goal in mind, you can tinker with your small group promotion until you reach it.
You can use your ChMS to measure small group membership, but you will also want to regularly talk with your small group leaders about how many people are involved.
3. What percentage of your website visitors attend in person?
Your website is generally the first stop for people looking for a new church. So it’s vital to know whether your website is encouraging visitors or impeding them. The only way to get an accurate picture of this is by measuring your website traffic against your attendance.
Google Analytics should be considered an essential tool for anyone tasked with monitoring your web presence. It’s going to show you how many unique visitors have visited your site in a given amount of time. The comprehensive information offered by Analytics can help you beef up your website’s effectiveness.
When you measure your website visits against your visitor numbers it’s a pretty good indicator at how well your website is converting.
Note: Make sure that when you’re measuring website traffic, you separate traffic in your local area from traffic beyond your geographic reach.
4. What percentage of members give faithfully?
Giving is one of the surest signs that people are committed to and invested in a church’s vision. So it’s important to know what percentage of your membership is giving regularly. After all, they’re the ones who have made a spoken commitment to supporting the church.
The point of this metric isn’t to identify who doesn’t contribute. It’s to help you gauge how productively you’re communicating about giving and stewardship.
This is so much easier to monitor with a good giving app. Not only is the information easier to access, you can also encourage people to sign up for recurring giving—which will help both this church metric and your bottom line.
5. Are you seeing increases in engagement?
There are a lot of ways for people to connect and engage with your church beyond the service. Tools like social media platforms, email lists, and church apps can tell you a lot about the levels of engagement in your congregation.
Whether you’re posting sermons on your website or updates on your Facebook page, you need to pay attention to what kind of engagement they’re getting. You need to know if you’re creating content that no one’s paying attention to. This will help you recognize when it’s time to rethink your communication strategy (or your advertising budget).
For every form of digital content or communication you use, there is a tool that can help you measure its helpfulness. For example, if you’re sending out emails to your church database, it’s critical that you find a tool that’s going to show you what percentage of those emails are being opened. Many church management softwares will do this for you, but if yours doesn’t, there are other solutions available.
Don’t kid yourself: numbers matter
There is no goal or strategy worth having that doesn’t require some kind of measurement. If you aren’t paying attention to the details, you’ll never be able to chart your progress. If your staff doesn’t have concrete ways to gauge their effectiveness, they can’t deliver on your expectations. It’s a matter of settling on the right church metrics for you.
For more information on measuring your church’s performance, download a free copy of our ebook 5 Crucial Church Metrics You’re Not Measuring. It’s full of invaluable information to help you set awesome goals—and achieve them!