Friday, June 24, 2011

Attendance in new churches

Kairos now coaches in group coaching sessions. A coach (sometimes 2) meet with two or three planters via phone or in person for group coaching. At a recent coaching session with planters working to grow the churches they lead beyond 200 attendance we had a great discussion on counting in new churhes.

What's the scorecard? How does a new church keep track of the direction of its growth?

Here's some of the ideas we talked about:
- Traditionally we count Sunday worship attendance. Our question was: does worship celebration give the best estimate of connectedness and activity with the church? Probably not
- Nelson Searcy (Ignite) and Scott Thumma (Megachurch Myths) both suggest it leaves out the "growth zone" of new churches. Thumma shows new churches grow from the "crowd" zone, people who may come once a month or so.
- New Christians often take a long time to develop the "attendance" habit, if ever. For example, a new Christian at Renovo comes once a month (she works 3 weekends a month and has a God-antagonistic husband), yet she is weekly at Missional Community.

1 - A new church should pay attention to its zones
- Committed, typically membership covenants
- Highly engaged, often those in the relational and midsize groups that engage in mission
- Crowds, attend at big days and other special events
2 - A productive "key numbers" dashboard should keep track of multiple attendance venues including worship celebration, relational groups, midsize groups and Big Day events.  Big Days may give a more accurate snapshot of the church's active network of relationships, people for whom this church is their self-selected church identity point.
3 - Pay attention to your database. What categories do you keep records of? How do you move people from active to inactive and vice versa?
4 - Crowd is your assimilation group. What is your well-identified and known pathway that people travel to move from crowd -> committed -> core (members)
5 - Demonstrates the need for multiple plug-in points, what may let one person connect well (say worship celebration) may not work for another person
6 - When people are asked to commit to some kind of membership covenant it allows the church to have more say in their lives on discipleship, leading, life discipline, etc.

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