Utilizing the proper measurements — and checking and rechecking them can benefit us in so many areas of our lives.
As we watch our children grow from infancy, they are subject to constant measurements in their physical and emotional development. We continue with measurements into adulthood through annual physicals.
Our intellectual development is also measured. As students progressing through the educational system, we are constantly evaluated to make certain we are on target for grade level and where we stand compared to peers.
Measurements matter in all areas of life. They apply to everything from cooking to budgeting. They add elements of science, technology, and math into areas that might otherwise seem completely unrelated to those subjects.
There would be very few – if any – people that do not track or measure the progress towards some type of goals. But, how does your congregation “measure up” to its goals?
This question assumes your congregation has a set of goals or mission. That is to say, before you measure something, you need to have something to measure.
I want to put out there that the Holy Spirit and His works are not measurable. Enough said.
So, what is measurable in a congregation?
The most basic measurements have to do with your budget. That is pretty black and white. Expenses and income all should be tracked on a monthly basis and can be compared on year-to-date as well as prior-years-month. Trends are to be identified and variances recognized.
Websites are another area of measurements. Websites do require maintenance and updating resources, so to measure their usage is important. Some of the factors you can use to measure your website are the following:
- Unique Visitors - This is the number of people that visited your site during a specific timeframe.
- Referrals - Where did these people come from? The referrals report will show the number of visitors you are getting from social sites, etc.
- Conversion Rate - Conversion rate is the percentage of people who achieved a goal on your site. Goals are things like filling out a contact form, or viewing a certain page on your site.
- Top Pages - It’s important to know what pages your visitors think are the most important on your site. By viewing your pages report, you know which pages to focus on as you look to improve your site and which pages will have the most impact if you make changes.
- Content - If you run a content site, this report will tell you what types of content your visitors find most useful and engaging.
Social media platforms offer metrics. If you are spending time posting to social media, you should follow through on knowing if what you are doing is effective. Check out this prior post for Facebook evaluation on boosts. Take time every month to review the information to see how you are doing.
Do you send group emails? What about e-newsletters? Measuring open rates will help determine if people are reading them. Also look to click through rates. This can let you know if people are interested in “clicking through” to additional information on specific articles.
Some email providers allow you to see whether recipients open your emails on a computer or mobile device. You want to make certain your emails are properly formatted for the devices being used to read them.
Another measurement is bounces. Don’t waste sending emails to addresses that are not valid.
Serious resources are allocated to church employees. Perhaps one of the largest pieces of the budget.
In this blog, efforts to find the right person for the right position are discussed. However, after you have the “right” person, how do you know it is working as planned? The LCMS provides sample evaluation forms for church employees on their resource page.
Take the time, especially in the first months of employment, to conduct evaluations. Your church and/or school has considerable investments in your employees and they are the ones who do the daily tasks to carry your mission forward. They need to know what is expected of them.
If your congregation supports a school, there are some measurements you should be looking at.
- Church membership – Know how many members are school age children. Also determine how many of your students are members of your church.
- Sources of enrollment – How do your students find out about your school? Look at the initial point of contact.
- Track attrition rates – Know how many new students enroll as well as those that leave.
- Track the “why” – Why do students enroll and leave.
Is It Worth It?
It takes a bit of effort to track and measure what you are doing in your congregation and school. But, the alternative is not an option.
The above measurements are basic and certainly do not encompass all that you can do. But this list can start you thinking on the path to measurements and evaluation within your congregation.
Your congregation has human, time, monetary and capital God given resources. And, they are limited.
Matthew 25:14-30 shares that we are obligated to use God’s resources wisely. I believe we are obligated to measure the effectiveness of what we do in order to be good stewards of God’s gifts to us.
For other helpful ideas and topics, visit the CTS Blog Technology & Your Ministry.