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Church Health: 20 Metrics You Should Be Tracking

By Rollie Dimos | Church Administration

It wasn’t too long ago that I was serving as church treasurer and leading the usher's team each week. So, my portfolio included overseeing the bookkeeping and the collection of donations. Besides collecting the offering, the ushers counted the number of people who attended each week and submitted the tally with the offering.  I joked that my job involved counting nickels and noses, although we sometimes counted ears just to keep it interesting.

Keeping track of numbers, or metrics, is one way that churches can measure the overall health and impact of their ministry. But evaluating the effectiveness of your ministry requires so much more than just tracking contributions and attendance.   

Have you heard the phrase, “Numbers count because people count”?  Or this phrase, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”?  One of my favorite metric-centered exhortations is this one: “Sunday is game day. If you’re not keeping score, then you are just practicing!”

Whether it’s these phrases, or buzzwords like key performance indicators, ratios, benchmarks, scorecards, or dashboards, these are all terms referring to the idea of capturing and analyzing data.

As a guy who looks at a lot of numbers, I can attest that data, when collected and analyzed properly, can provide a wealth of knowledge to help you celebrate areas where you are strong, and help you identify other areas that need improvement. 


Why Metrics Matter

Metrics can measure financial and non-financial criteria to help you assess your ministry’s performance.  We often only think about financial measures when discussing metrics. But if you only report on financial-based metrics, you won’t have a good idea of how you are performing in other key mission and program areas.

To be effective, any metric that you measure must be tied to your ministry’s mission and core values.  Metrics should help measure what is most important to the church. With the help of key leaders in the church, identify what matters most in your ministry, and then create metrics or measurements to help you assess your progress. Take this time to evaluate your current metrics, too. If you find one that isn’t tied to your mission and goals, stop expending resources on that particular measure, and refocus that energy on a different metric.

When properly designed, metrics can offer these additional benefits:

  • Help you pursue your mission.
  • Measure and report on your performance.
  • Demonstrate accountability and transparency.
  • Demonstrate successful outcomes.
  • Visually tell the story of where you have been and where you are going.

Let me offer 20 metrics that can help you assess the overall health and effectiveness of your ministry.  I’m sure you are measuring some of these metrics, but maybe there are a few others that you can incorporate. 


Demographics and Attendance 

These types of metrics are designed to find out who is attending your church, and how often. They can help a church determine who makes up their core attendance and can help shape the type of ministry programs offered. These stats can be tracked over time to identify demographic and attendance trends. 

These metrics can answer these questions:

  • Who is attending?
  • How often do they attend?
  • Which demographic should we target for specific ministry opportunities?

Here are a few examples:

1. Attendance at Each Service.  Include all weekend services and locations, if applicable.  Also track children and youth services, mid-week services, prayer services, and discipleship classes.

  2. Total Attendance by Week, Month and Year.  Roll-up all figures to identify total attendance each week and track attendance trends over time.

  3. Attendance by Gender, Marital Status, Age Group, and Zip Code. This type of information may be difficult to track but can help you identify and target specific ministry opportunities for those who attend your services.



Many churches are accustomed to tracking financial metrics like contribution totals, and average giving per person.  Adding additional financial metrics can help provide a more well-rounded view of your financial health and position. The more information available to leadership, the better informed they will be when making decisions.

These metrics can help answer these questions:

  • Are we developing generous givers?
  • Are we over-relying on certain donors?
  • What is the cost to reach each attendee?
  • How many days can we stay open if there’s another Covid-19 emergency?
  • How long does it take to pay our suppliers?

Here are some financial metrics you can track:

4. Giving by Person (or “per capita giving”).  Calculated as total giving divided by total attendance. Over time, this metric can help you gauge the generosity of your attenders, and help you estimate future revenue based on changes in attendance.

5. Income Reliance Ratio. Calculated as the total contributions of your top one or two donors divided by total contributions. This metric identifies if the church is relying too much on a few key donors.

6. Days Cash on Hand. Calculated as cash divided by total expenses per day; and/or cash plus investments divided by total cash expenses per day. This metric identifies the number of days the church can operate without additional funds or liquidating investments. Greater than 90 days is a worthy goal.   

7. Debt Payment as % of Revenue (or “debt to income” ratio). Calculated as monthly debt payments divided by gross monthly income. This metric measures the church’s ability to manage and pay their debt obligations.  When borrowing money, lenders often look at this ratio.

8. Operating Cash Flow. Calculated as total cash received minus total cash disbursed.  This metric identifies the amount of cash on hand at a specific point as a result of normal business operations.

9. Current Ratio. Calculated as current assets (cash, short-term investments, accounts receivable) divided by current liabilities (accounts payable, current monthly mortgage payment, payroll withholding). This metric can identify the church’s ability to pay its immediate bills.

10. Cost to Reach Each Attendee. Calculated as total expenses (less depreciation) divided by average attendance (or giving unit).

11. Cost to Operate Church Building. Calculated as total facility costs (excluding mortgage interest and depreciation) divided by total square footage.

12. Personnel Costs. Calculated as total personnel costs (salaries and benefits) divided by total expenses (less depreciation).


Connectedness and Community 

These types of metrics will help you determine how engaged and connected your church attenders are.  These metrics can help answer the questions:

  • How often are they serving?
  • Are they connecting with others outside of the church and serving in outreach ministries?
  • Are they involved in discipleship classes or participating in small groups?

Here are some examples:

13. Volunteer Ratio.  Calculated as total volunteers divided by total attenders.   (If it is important to determine how often volunteers are serving or attending, you will need to develop additional tools like a volunteer sign-in sheet or process.

14. Small Group Participation Calculated as total small group participants divided by total attenders.  Also track growth year over year to measure long-term engagement.

15. Discipleship Training Participation. Calculated as total discipleship class participants divided by total attenders.


Health and Maturity

These metrics can assess your discipleship efforts. You can include metrics to measure engagement in specific ordinances or doctrines of the church, as well as overall health and maturity of attenders.

These types of metrics can help answer these questions:

  • How many of us did it take to win someone to Christ this year?
  • Did we keep them long enough to guide them toward water baptism?
  • How effectively are we adding to the kingdom?
  • Are we effectively discipling and mobilizing our people?
  • Are we producing Spirit-empowered believers?

Here are some examples:

16. Missional Effectiveness. Calculated as annual weekly average attendance divided by number of conversions.  This metric measures missional effectiveness, i.e. for every X number of people attending your church, one person became a Christian. 

17. Assimilation.  Calculated as annual conversions divided by annual water baptisms. This metric measures assimilation and answers the question, “How many of our converts have taken the next step of water baptism?”

18. Kingdom Growth. Calculated as average attendance divided by annual baptisms.  This metric is a combination of the church’s missional and assimilation effectiveness and measures true kingdom growth.

19. Discipleship and Mobilization. Calculated as conversions divided by Spirit baptisms.  This metric measures the effectiveness of the church’s discipleship and mobilization efforts.

20. Reproduction. Calculated as average attendance divided by annual Spirit baptisms.  This metric measures the church’s ability to reproduce Spirit-empowered disciples.


Things to Consider

The difficulty with metrics is finding a way to measure each of these goals.  For example, to track attendance, you will have to find a way to count people.  Some churches want to know each person who attends their services, so these churches will pass a sign-in sheet or roster down each row.  Other churches are only interested in total numbers, so they assign ushers or hospitality teams to count heads.  If tracking gender and age group is important to you, you’ll have to create a method that helps you identify and count these sub-groups.   

All of these metrics will require the collection of data over long periods. For useful data, it’s essential that the data collection is accurate and standardized.  Identify what you will measure and then stick with it.  This will bring consistency to your processes and allow for accurate comparisons over time.

It’s critical to carefully define your required input data and then create methods for collecting and measuring this data.  Additionally, don’t forget to create a process for recording and preserving this data, monitoring that data over time, and creating useful charts, graphs, or dashboards for easy analysis.

Talk with your leadership team to establish targets for these metrics and then be intentional by creating short-term and long-term processes to help achieve these targets.



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