I’m very encouraged that churches are beginning to ask more complex things from their church management system. Instead of seeing it as merely a place to collect basic mailing, attendance, and contribution information, some churches are taking it to the next level and using their ChMS as a strategic ministry partner to inform and validate ministry decisions.
Here are 7 things churches should measure regularly:
1. First-time givers. Every week someone should receive a report with the names and amounts of first-time givers. It’s very important to acknowledge all first-time gifts as they are an external reality of an internal commitment to your church. It would be rude, quite frankly, not to.
2. Giving habits that vary more than 10%. You should always be looking at a rolling twelve month average. If in any given month the difference is greater than or less than 10%, someone on staff should follow up. Changes in giving habits always reflect other realities — often very personal and perhaps spiritual — that might be “hidden” ministry opportunities.
3. 90 days of expenses and revenue and attendance and participation. Budgeting is a good tool and discipline to build into a church’s management process. However, we should be willing to adjust expenses within the year and well before it creates a significant variance later in the year based on current revenue patterns. Don’t wait until Q4 to adjust, or you may just create an unnecessary crisis. This information should be used alongside the attendance and participating habits of the membership. Almost always they tell the same story, only through two different perspectives.
4. Staff giving. If your leadership isn’t practicing generosity, you can’t expect the person in the pew to either. Monitor this closely as it could also reveal who is thinking/about to leave and who is truly “all in.”
5. Giving habits of those who complete membership classes. When a group completes a membership class or process, their habits should be measuring within 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, 9 months, and 12 month intervals. This will give you a good indication as to what to change or adjust to ensure your membership class is effectively assimilating new members or just fulfilling an organizational objective.
There are many, many more reports to consider. However, these are a core group that I recommend you start using today. The better you are at leveraging your ChMS as a ministry partner, the more strategic your decision making will become. Stop managing your church with your gut; it’s not as “dead on” as you may “feel” like it is.
For more ideas, check out Getting Disciple Making Right: 7 Ways Technology Helps Churches Win at Making Disciples.
How valuable is your ChMS to you?