By Jason Terrell
In our daily lives, we are used to paying attention to our health. Estimates place the revenue for the “fitness, mind+body” industry in the billions of dollars annually.
We have wearable devices, apps for our phones and countless websites that help us track our fitness level, blood pressure, heart rate, sleep cycle and any number of other signs of our overall personal health. Insurance companies that offer health coverage build entire programs around encouraging clients to monitor their health through screenings and preventative office visits.
By all accounts, we are a health-conscious nation.
As in tune as we can be about the health of our bodies, how in tune are we about the health of the body of Christ?
I’m not referring to the overall physical well-being of the church members, but rather how active and engaged are our members as a whole? How often are people giving? How frequently do people participate in the various programs within our ministries? Do we track any of these indicators and, if so, do we know when there might be a problem?
Measuring the engagement or “health” of the church members is as vital to the church’s success as monitoring our own personal health is to the well being of our bodies. If you could spot potential concerns with church members early enough to make a correction, wouldn’t you want to do that? Isn’t that part of what it means to be good stewards of the Kingdom?
Alex Nicoletti is the Product Owner of Shelby System’s Arena software, which has health tracking built in. Before working at Shelby, Nicoletti worked for his church in Florida which used Arena’s health meter.
“As a large church of over 4,000 weekly attenders, tracking the overall health of our members and attendees was an important piece we needed in our church management system,” he says. “Understanding where someone was in his or her spiritual walk through tracking tangible information helped us identify whom we needed to connect with. It also helped us find the best person to reach out to them.”
So, if you aren’t tracking your church member’s health, how do you start?
STEP 1: DETERMINE WHAT NUMBERS TO TRACK
What you track in relation to your church’s health depends largely upon what’s important to your church as a whole. Ideally the items you track should come from the priorities and vision statement of your church.
- Is attendance a big factor?
- If so, which events are most important?
- How vital is giving and how frequently?
- What about the rate at which people volunteer?
STEP 2: DETERMINE HOW YOU GATHER DATA AND THE FREQUENCY
Once you determine which vital information is most important, then you need to determine how that information will be tracked and where it will reside.
- Will it be collected by volunteers or church staff?
- How frequently will that information be gathered?
Ideally, you want to have a snapshot of the data monthly or even weekly so you can spot potential trends early and address problems promptly.
STEP 3: DECIDE WHERE THE DATA WILL LIVE
Keeping data in multiple systems handled by multiple people will potentially create confusion and make it much harder to produce the type of reports that your ministry’s leadership needs to locate and address problems.
If you don’t have one already, this is a good time to look at a comprehensive church management system (ChMS), preferably one that allows you to track data and render that data in a way that allows you to monitor activity over time.
STEP 4: MONITOR YOUR CHURCH HEALTH DATA FREQUENTLY
If you have gone to the trouble of putting the data into a ChMS, you should be able to pull a number of different reports that will show you the overall health of the church and allow you to get specifics if there are members of your church who are not engaging with the church as they might normally.
Arena monitors a members spiritual health automatically by data already in the software. Automated reporting makes follow-up quick and easy. Points are given to each member for engagement metrics determined by the church.
The system keeps up with the church member’s involvement in the form of an engagement score and staff can pull reports to see what the overall scores look like and identify people whose scores drop, so someone can follow up. It’s then up to your leadership team to determine the best ways to reach out to those members.
Like tracking your own health, tracking the health of your church members can lead to long-term benefits, such as greater involvement and an overall stronger ministry.
Jason Terrell is the Marketing Manager for Shelby Systems.