Published: 6 months ago

Q&A: What Metrics Do You Measure?

Q:

I am new to our Guest Experience Ministry. I am curious: what are you measuring in your ministry? What, to you, constitutes success? 

[Thea King, Director of Guest Experience, First Baptist Church, Windermere, FL]


A:

Confession: I am a notoriously bad analytics guy. You see, analytics involve numbers, and numbers send shivers up second grade Danny’s spine. My six year old daughter is quickly hitting the point where I will have literally taught her everything I know when it comes to math homework.

Numbers are scary.

But numbers are important to track progression in ministry. And while we track a lot of things at the Summit, there are three main metrics and a comparison that I focus on from the weekend. Every Monday, I receive an email that details the following:

  • Overall weekend attendance. This figure includes everyone who showed up at one of our campuses: adults and kids, first timers and charter members. If they had a head, we counted it.
  • First time guest count. Currently, we count households, but we are about to make the jump to people. That gives us the most accurate measurement of who is new.
  • First Impressions volunteers. Yes, I care about all vols, but I’m primarily concerned about these particular vols. Selfish, I know.
  • Last year’s comparison. I want to know how this weekend measured up to the same weekend last year. Are we growing? Shrinking? Level?

A one-weekend surge or dive doesn’t necessarily indicate an issue. Weather and holidays and school schedules can all skew stats one way or another. But a consistent downturn in head count (especially compared to the previous year) can indicate something more systemic.

For example: we recently noticed that our first time guest count is trending downward from this time last year. And it’s not just a one-weekend thing: most weekends it seems that we’re off as compared to the same time period twelve months back. But what does it mean? Are fewer new people showing up? We don’t think so, because overall attendance is still growing. Have we inadvertently started counting people differently? Perhaps, which is why we’re switching to people vs. households to make sure we’re apples to apples. Or are some of our first timers simply not identifying themselves anymore? That’s my gut. But without some numerical data to back it up, it’s all just a guess.

That’s my weekly metrics report. On a far-less-regular timeline, we will look at things like our volunteer to attendee ratio, our attendance retention rate, and our guest-to-member comparison. Again, all of those tracking systems are embedded in our weekly and monthly reporting, and the data is there for the mining when we are ready to start exploring. And of course, we have other teams who measure other things like small group attendance, financial giving, salvation decisions and baptisms, etc.

What are the metrics you’re tracking, and how are you tracking them?

 

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