Everybody wants to see their church grow!
That's because a growing church signifies that all involved ministries, services, and communities are doing well.
Moreover, the church's growth indicates whether a church is barely surviving or thriving.
Whatever the church growth strategy may be, it's worth mentioning that, at some point, all church leaders have to measure church growth—quantitatively or qualitatively and even for the church's internal and external growth.
But the most pressing question that looms over most church leaders is this: how do you precisely measure church growth?
Sadly, many church leaders fail to measure church growth because, first and foremost, this is not part of any church growth strategy in their pipeline.
Even worse is that many church leaders don't know the concrete indicators that measure if the church is growing.
In the same way church leaders pray for church growth, they must also pray for the ability and commitment to measure church growth as an integral component of the church's welfare.
This article will discuss the essential elements of church growth and how you can measure these indicators for your church's benefit.
Why Should You Measure Church Growth?
To fully appreciate the importance of measuring church growth, church leaders must also acknowledge the invisible barrier holding them back.
And that barrier is this—many church leaders think measuring church growth is not spiritual!
Some have even claimed that measuring church growth strategies or churchgoers' behaviors is too secular. They say that narrowing the church's activities into a numbers game oversimplifies everything.
Indeed, numbers can't tell the whole story of the church, but you can't deny the implications they suggest to your church's growth or services.
For instance, at the start of the year, you had 500 congregants, but come the next quarter of the year, you only had 300 active churchgoers. Would you still be able to convince yourself and the church that everything is going right?
Disregarding such indicators of church growth is dangerous. If you want to improve church growth, you will have to measure what growth strategies are working and what needs improvement.
Ways to Measure Church Growth
Church growth is sometimes subjective. However, you can use several proofs to measure church growth. Here are the indicators and ways to successfully measure church growth:
1. First-time Churchgoers
The number of first-time churchgoers indicates the journey of a person who visits your church for the first time, potentially to their baptism or even to become a church leader.
More importantly, this indicator suggests your church's attractiveness to non-church members. Of course, each first-time goer has their reason for visiting your church, which is worth noting.
Aside from collecting the number of first-time churchgoers at monthly, quarterly, or yearly intervals, you can also ask for these details:
- What made them visit your church?
- How many other churches have they visited for the first time?
- What are they looking forward to in your church?
- What did they think of their experience at your church?
2. First-time Churchgoers Who Remained at Church
As mentioned earlier, the number of first-time churchgoers is an essential indicator of potential growth for your church.
Your data for first-time churchgoers could be more meaningful in evaluating your church growth strategy if you also measured how many people remained as your church member.
Simply put, you can check the date of their first-time visit and see how long they stayed at your church. Is it for a month, a quarter of a year, or are they still present year-to-date?
If you've been looking for ideas to convince first-time churchgoers into becoming regular church attendees, we have you covered with our free guide, How to Convert First-Time Visitors into Regular Attenders.
3. Weekly Worship Attendance
If there's one church activity that visibly and publicly indicates church growth, it has to be your church's weekly worship service, particularly your Sunday service.
Your Sunday service could be your best church growth strategy. It's that one moment in the week that everyone—the church members, the ministries, and leaders—gets to be nourished by the Word of God.
For instance, if less than 50% of the church membership attends the Sunday service, the likelihood of church growth decreases.
Some may say, "The numbers don't matter; what matters is the spiritual experience."
Because the concern is church growth, then this involves every church member. The attendance speaks volumes about the church's reputation and services.
Aside from that, church leaders must also remember that attendance is often seasonal. For example, many would attend at the start of the year or towards Christmas but not during summer.
A more practical approach would be to check the weekly worship attendance and compare it to last week.
In the end, you have 52 weeks in a year to evaluate your weekly worship services, and attendance is an objective indicator.
If you're wondering how to improve your church's worship experience, check out our guide on The Perfect Church Service Plan.
4. Number of Baptisms
What better way to measure church growth than to keep track of the people who professed their commitment and belief in Jesus through baptism at church?
Baptisms signify the official beginning of a Christian's journey.
More baptized Christians at your church can signify that more people are willing to grow as Christians with the help of your church. And yes, you can measure the number of baptisms depending on the desired timeframe for evaluation.
5. Evaluate Your Church's Tithes and Donations
Churches must treat tithes and donations with utmost reverence. After all, tithes and donations provide resources for all the church's growth strategies and stewardship efforts.
That means churches must monitor every donated money from all churchgoers and donors.
Can the monthly, quarterly, and annual tithing collections and donations help sustain all the church's activities and operations?
It may be tempting to do manual monitoring of your church's fundraising efforts on a spreadsheet, but Tithe.ly is here to assist church leaders in being more efficient in evaluating the church funds.
You can check out how our top-notch services work by reading this article, The Importance of Fundraising Software.
6. Number of Givers
The number of tithes a church receives may not always be proportional to the number of givers.
Don't let a massive sum of collected money distract you from the fact that this amount may have only come from a few people. It’s still quite possible that many church members are not committed to helping the church.
Remember: a growing church is a giving church.
Churchgoers could spend every Sunday in your halls but not give their tithes. Unless they do offer to help the church through tithing, you can't really measure the transformation brought by the church in their hearts.
And the task of helping you encourage more church members to give to the church can be simplified with the aid of Tithe.ly Giving, which is designed to make giving to the church as convenient as possible.
You’ll never know unless you keep track of things. This is easily accomplished with the help of Tithe.ly's Giving Dashboard, giving you a clear picture of your church's giving-related activities.
7. Budget Breakdown
A growing church is a financially viable church.
If church leaders know how to prioritize and allocate the church's funds, then that would be a good measurement that most likely the ministries and services are well-supported and fulfilling their functions.
Furthermore, a church's budget will dictate which areas of your church's growth strategies need more support.
More often than not, the ministries that thrive the most have the most significant chunk of the budget.
When you observe that some things at church are not working, aside from evaluating the activity itself, you may also want to examine if these activities have proportional support, as shown in the church's budget.
Not monitoring your church's budget is not a form of good stewardship, and ineffective stewardship does not lead to church growth.
As a church leader, you need to know where your budget goes. You can check out this article, How to Track Giving at Church, to help keep track of your church's budget.
8. Number of Volunteers
Every church member can volunteer to offer their time, talent, and resources for the church.
But a better way to use the data on the number of volunteers is to identify the number of volunteers with formal roles at your church.
You can include details about church volunteerism such as:
- Number of church members serving in the different ministries
- Percentage of church volunteers versus non-volunteers
- Number of volunteers who transitioned to church leaders
A general rule of thumb is that at least 50% of your church's population should volunteer to say that the church is growing.
Nonetheless, you may check out our guide, 6 Ways You Can Increase the Number of Volunteers in Your Church, to help your church's growth strategies.
9. Number of Church Leaders
When Jesus was doing his public ministry, he was also engaged in producing leaders from his twelve apostles who would continue spreading the Gospel even after he was no longer here on earth.
More than two thousand years later, what started with Jesus and his twelve apostles has multiplied to thousands of church leaders and billions of believers.
The lesson is clear: produce leaders as Jesus did.
That means you should focus on giving your attention and effort to a select few who will have special responsibilities as church leaders.
With you at the helm of the church's activities, the other church leaders you have will be responsible for almost all the essential activities at church.
Your leaders are most likely assigned to small groups, ministries, and church committees. Moreover, they directly influence other church members and help you establish the church's reputation.
This would compel you to identify and equip church members who can serve as leaders after God's heart.
And as you pray for church growth, pray for leaders who can help you grow the church, too.
A church with the right number of leaders will be able to facilitate the growth of its congregation.
Our podcast, Modern Church Leader, is very much designed to help church leaders like you grow your church through effective church leadership.
10. Number of Churches and Communities Planted
A growing church is a planting church.
The growth of your church is not exclusive to your church members and leaders who have taken the next spiritual steps. Nor is it exclusive to your church's weekly attendance.
If your church is growing in numbers, finances, and spirit, it is more likely that these blessings you have received will not remain in your church alone.
The ability to help other churches in need, provide outreach and support in the community, or even establish other branches are all signs of a thriving church.
Additionally, all your outreach can help you plant the church's seeds, which will eventually bear fruit.
If your church has aspirations to plant in the future, make sure to consider these 6 Critical Habits Of Successful Church Planters.
Measure What Matters Most
Church growth involves several elements and variables. While individual member growth is often a personal and subjective matter, there are tangible behaviors and manifestations which influence the church as a whole. And the church must properly evaluate these indicators to determine if the church is growing or stagnating.
Having considered these ideas for measuring church growth, remember not only to pray for church growth but also to pray for discernment in measuring church growth.
Equip your church with the necessary tools and know-how by checking out Tithe.ly and experiencing the positive effects of measuring church growth with all the indicators we discussed above.