How can numbers be useful in understanding a church?

Getting information on church health from numerical data

Graph showing growth over time

Looking at statistics

Numbers are one piece of information in an evaluation of a church congregation's health. It is not the only piece of needed information. However, statistical data can be easily measured and analyzed and can help form a realistic picture. So, don't ignore available statistical data in trying to understand the state of a local church.

Construct a graph of at least 10 years of your church's attendance and membership statistics. Why ten years? Well, that will help you see long-term patterns. With the graphs in hand, ask questions. Lots of questions. Look for answers to the following:

  1. What factors, circumstances or events may have contributed to:
    1. High points?
    2. Valleys?
    3. The present trend?
  2. At the moment, what things are likely fostering health and driving growth in our church?
  3. What needs to happen to stimulate further outreach and assimilation?
  4. What are the unique and appealing things about our church's congregation, its ministry activities and even its facilities?
  5. What kinds of human needs are being met by our church?
  6. What bridges does the church have that facilitate people moving into Sunday School, small groups and other ministries after they have begun attending worship events? [ More: "Incorporation and assimilation".

Sample graph analysis

    -- Howard Culbertson


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