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Connect the Dots to Evaluate Your Ministry

Steve Caton offers seven ways to ensure that your data is telling the right story.

We have no shortage of information. We are surrounded by data, but data alone doesn’t tell a story. An individual star in the sky may be beautiful, but only when you connect the three in a row do you see Orion’s Belt. Individual data points are less important than the story that they can tell when we connect the dots. Measuring the right things can give a full, accurate picture of what is happening in your church. Here are seven ways to ensure that your data is telling the right story.

1. Attendance

This is where most churches start, but they often aren’t looking at the right metrics of attendance to give them meaningful information. Sure, how many people were at Sunday services is important, but what about small group engagement, or the church picnic? Measuring participation in areas other than just worship services can yield fruitful information. How many people come to a newcomer’s luncheon but are not attending the church three months later? How many children are there in sixth grade Sunday school, and what will that mean when they transition into the junior high youth group in the fall?

2. Giving

Most ministry decisions involve some sort of financial implication. Investing in new staff members or expanding to a new campus can either enhance the growth you are experiencing or overtax the budget. If you are not using comprehensive giving reports, it will be difficult to project the right timing of a new initiative and how it will affect the financial security of the church.

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