Metrics for the UMC: A Question of Counting (1 of 3)

Several weeks ago, I wrote a series about Why Numbers Matter in the UMC and I wanted to follow that up with some thoughts that I have been percolating on since then.

Statistically, for metrics to be any good they need to be measuring the same thing across time and among different locations. I don’t have any conclusions today, but just a question:

What is the standard for counting worship attendance? Do you include:

  • Children?
  • Infants in the Nursery?
  • Adults?
  • Volunteers?
  • Staff?
What do you count at your church for worship attendance?

How do you measure life change?

Just over a year ago, I considered the difference between worship attendance and discipleship. Today I am thinking about a related question.

How do you measure life change?

I know, trust and hope that lives are changed through my ministry at Resurrection and the collected life and ministry of this local faith community. But how do you know?

This nagging question keeps coming back to me. It is important that people show up to worship. It is important that people make a decision to join the church. These are measurable and quantifiable. It is much more difficult to measure life change.

The best way that I know how to accomplish this is through story. One person that has experienced life change that is able to tell that story to another person can make it certain that change has happened and continues to take place. I am sometimes blessed to be able to hear these stories. More often I am left wondering about how or if lives are being changed.

I continue to struggle with this question. Maybe I need to trust the life change to God…

What I do know is that life change and sharing that change with others is crucial to the continued vitality of the church of Jesus Christ.