The Church Revitalization Podcast – Episode 153
If you’re a pastor, you’re a leader. Every leader has to make decisions, and good decisions are made from good information. There are helpful things that every pastor should know every week. We call that collection of information the pastor’s “dashboard.”
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Here are some of the best things that should be included in any pastoral dashboard:
1. Sunday Worship Attendance
This very basic measurement is vitally important. Let’s be real. If you believe the mission of the church is to make disciples of Jesus and your church attendance is flat or declining, then something is wrong. Tracking attendance will cue you into that reality.
2. Children’s Ministry Attendance
Like the regular worship service attendance, tracking attendance in your children’s ministry will clue you in to healthy or unhealthy trends happening around you that may be too subtle to perceive without data.
3. Sunday Offering Amount
Some pastors get in the weeds on finance, and others hold it at arm’s length, bragging about not knowing anything about money in the church. You should be in the middle somewhere, knowing if the church is healthy financially, but not aware of every penny and who is giving it. This is a core leadership area to steward the church well. The “buck” stops with the pastor.
4. New Guests
This is one of the most important things for the pastor to know. Many guests may not provide contact information to you, but some will, and that number will probably remain pretty consistent. You need to know how many guests you had in worship and in children’s ministry.
5. Guest Follow-Up Process
How many people are in the guest follow-up pipeline? You should have a great guest connection process, and a clear call to action that you’ll be pursuing people for. As stated above, if you’re on mission to make disciples and someone takes a step towards you by attending a worship service AND giving you their contact information, that’s a gift that should be held as precious. In the children’s ministry, every kid should be checked in through a security process, so that is a second method of getting family information that you can follow up on.
6. Discipleship Engagement
Whether you have Sunday school classes, small groups, or something entirely different, you need to know how many people are engaged with your church in this very important aspect of the Christian life and maturity. Your dashboard could include a raw attendance number, or perhaps a percentage of worship service attendance.
7. Weather or Unusual Events
Humans can be pretty predictable. If you have an attendance spike it will be helpful to be able to look back and see that it was Mother’s Day or Easter. Likewise, the dips may coincide to a storm or Super Bowl or whatever other thing people prioritized over church.
8. Monthly Budget Update
This one doesn’t need to be in the weekly report, but should be included monthly. Show the percentage of budget in and out at that point in the year. This is the kind of information you don’t want to see for the first time the week before the annual business meeting.
Most good church management software can produce the information noted above, but it may take a little bit of setup. If you’re not at that point, then a spreadsheet will do. If you are using software such as Planning Center or Tithley/Elvanto, then we recommend checking out Growing Healthier Churches. Our friends over there have created some really nice additional dashboards to get the most out of your software.
Remember, leaders lead. Get the information you need to lead well!
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A.J. Mathieu is the President of the Malphurs Group. He is passionate about helping churches thrive and travels internationally to teach and train pastors to lead healthy disciple-making churches. A.J. lives in the Ft. Worth, Texas area, enjoys the outdoors, and loves spending time with his wife and two sons. Click here to email A.J.