Relevant Data about the Church and its Community

As we prayerfully seek God’s calling and way forwards for our churches, it’s important to include candid reflection on the present and recent past. This note offers guidance about some of the numbers that should appropriately inform our discussions. 

Churches that submit their Parish returns and Statistics for Mission online should have ready access to recent statistics via that system: Others will want to refer to their own records, or contact Judith Nex: or 01905 732802.

Some numbers and information to keep our discussions realistic

  1. Attendance figures, and how they have changed over time. Numbers aren’t everything, but steadily reducing numbers pose clear challenges for sustainability.

  2. Within the overall attendance figures, have there been new people coming to faith and joining the church community?

  3. Relatedly, the number of baptisms, and perhaps especially confirmations, give some indication of the number of people coming to faith in Christ (and not just moving from another church).

  4. What is our estimate of the age profile of the congregation? How many children are present/involved, on Sundays and at other times in the week?

  5. How strong are your connections with the broader community? One angle on this is looking at how the figures for Christmas attendance (normally the biggest reach of the year) compare with normal congregations? (Quite often a church is able to engage with twice as many people at Christmas as on a usual Sunday.)

  6. Does your church have a website? Simply having one is a good start. Does the website give service times? Does it make clear that visitors (physically/online as appropriate) are welcome, and give some indication of what to expect?

  7. Some social media presence, such as a Facebook page that has recent posts, is also good. The number of people following / liking it give some indication of its reach.

  8. Insight into financial health and sustainability can be assessed by a range of measures: the average level of giving per head, the ability of the parish to make a reasonable contribution towards the costs of ministry around the diocese and the presence of reserves. All of these are starters for discussion rather than giving a complete picture of the financial health of the church.

  9. Some indication of the health of human resources might be given by the number and involvement of volunteers, the number of people authorised or licensed for Lay Ministry, and (in some cases) the extent to which the church is committed to appropriately paying for some work to be done.

  10. Finally, an indication of the degree to which the church building is seen as sustainable and supportive, rather than a drain on time and energy will be seen in your response to the 2018 Buildings for Mission survey.

Page last updated: Tuesday 8th September 2020 9:22 AM
Powered by Church Edit