Church growth is a sensitive and emotionally charged subject to discuss. For some church leaders, it is an exciting conversation about what God is doing, the stories of people discovering a church home and faith communities thriving with energy and life. For others, it is a pain point of frustration where emotions can flood in as a reminder that despite hard work, dedicated prayer life, and faithful service, growth simply isn’t happening. Conferences are filled with conversations that start with, “How big is your church?” which can lead to awkward moments that feel like churches are being compared.
For this reason, metrics can be vilified as unnecessary intrusions into a spiritual entity. For churches, individuals in a pew seem like trite aspirations when there are greater pursuits such as transformed lives, spiritual growth, active fruits of the spirit, and healthy faith community development (Baker, 2015). Since these are not quantifiable and difficult to measure (Vaters, 2013), church leaders must find some parallels to help them intentionally strategic about kingdom growth and disciple development. The right metrics may not be able to replace those things that truly matter, but they can help church leaders assess effectiveness, identify opportunities for growth, provide accountability, gain insight into what works, and make good decisions regarding resource allocation (Baker, 2015).
Individual ministry leaders must determine what is important to their faith community, the surrounding community, and the vision that God has given them for their church. Thom Rainer provides six metrics that any ministry leader should consider as a starting point for measuring effectiveness:
- Church/community growth ratio
- Small Groups
- Number of Guests
- Conversion Growth
Each ministry leader must find their own metrics, while at the same time remembering metrics are guides for effectiveness, not the purpose of the church’s existence.
Baker, J. (2015, September 1). Measuring What Matters 100 Meaningful Church Measurements. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from http://sacredstructures.org/measurement/measuring-what-matters-100-meaningful-church-measurements/
Rainer, T. S. (n.d.). Six Metrics for Reaching People.
Vaters, K. (2015, November 13). Measuring What Matters: The Challenge of Church Metrics. Retrieved August 31, 2016, from http://www.christianitytoday.com/karl-vaters/2015/november/measuring-what-matters-challenge-of-church-metrics.html