The Critical Metric You’re Not Measuring – But Should Be!

(NOTE: This post was excerpted from the ebook “5 Crucial Church Metrics You’re Not Measuring (But Should Be!)”)


Few church metrics come with so much baggage as those centered around giving. We simply don’t know how far to delve into the generosity (or lack thereof) of our congregation. Often, it comes from an honest and well-intentioned desire not to prejudice ourselves for or against people based upon how much they give.

But it’s a mistake not to measure giving. In 21st-century North America, generosity gives us a bird’s-eye view into the human heart like no other church metric. Johnny Hunt, longtime pastor of First Baptist Church of Woodstock, Georgia, puts it this way: “You’re never more like Jesus than when you give.” If Jesus is the spiritual-maturity barometer of a discipled Christian, then generosity has to be a critical part of the equation.

That’s why you want a giving metric that measures the breadth of your giving across your church membership. If your congregation as a whole isn’t giving— or giving is relegated to a relative few—you can assume you have people who need additional discipleship in the area of generosity.

“It’s incredibly valuable to know that we have 40 committed families, and we have 30 committed givers. That tells us we probably have 25 percent of our church [that] has not been discipled in that area or doesn’t have the means [to give],” said Brandon Cox, who serves as the managing editor for Pastors.com and the founding pastor of Grace Hills Church in northwest Arkansas.

Depending upon how your church tracks giving, this shouldn’t be tough to figure either. Whoever manages your accounting can simply isolate all your members’ giving records and count up the number of people who have given in the past month. Divide that number by your church’s total number of givers.

But here’s where technology can come into play and really help you see the facts and figures. We are living in a time where technology has evolved at an amazing rate, and the latest version of a computer or smartphone is outdated in a matter of months, not years. But in the church, we are often behind when it comes to technology. Whether it’s fear of change or an overwhelming number of options to choose from, decisions about technology seem to paralyze church leaders into indecision. Technology can be an extremely beneficial element to your ministry, particularly when it comes to generosity.                          

Did you know that the percentage of people using their smartphones to shop on Amazon cracked the 70 percent mark in December of 2015? Facebook sees similar mobile use. In fact, in April of 2016, Facebook reported that 79 percent of its advertising revenue came through mobile ads.

There are even articles being published on the importance of mobile giving for churches that cite some very important metrics, such as, 3 Reasons Why Your Church Needs to Consider Mobile Giving for Offering & Tithes.

At the end of the day, when it comes to trends like this, the numbers don’t lie.

My point of sharing these metrics is that the world today regularly interacts via smartphone, and that number is only growing as smartphones become more and more integrated into our daily lives. If your church is not taking advantage of this shift, you are not only missing out on connecting more with your community, but you are also missing out on the valuable metrics that come with it. These metrics can help measure the percentage of members who give, determine how effective and useful your current technology is, and make educated decisions about how well your technology serves your ministry.

What does this metric tell you? You’ll learn how well you’ve discipled your congregation in the area of generosity.

Things to Consider:

  • Obviously, if you have a high percentage of members who give in cash, this metric becomes very difficult to figure. Platforms like Pushpay can help with this by consistently driving your congregation to mobile giving. Churches that have adopted Pushpay technology have received 76 percent of their giving through mobile technology on average—that alone can give you a lot of data.
  • Everyone who gives between $1 and $10,000 in a given month will count toward this figure. You can’t determine how well your members understand the concept of tithing through this metric. Couple it with per capita giving to understand the breadth and depth of giving in your congregation.
  • Remember the cautions described earlier about numbers related to church membership. Make sure you have accurate church membership figures. (That goes for any of the metrics in related to church membership).

How to Improve This Metric:

Get plugged into a mobile giving solution. We live in a mobile world where your congregants expect to be able to give on the run. By encouraging mobile giving, this platform can increase the number of people in your church who give—and how quickly they give after joining your church.

  • Develop a comprehensive plan to teach stewardship to your congregation. Preach about stewardship on an annual basis at a minimum. Offer classes that help your members get on top of their debt.

To learn more about this and other oft-overlooked church metrics, click to read the rest of the ebook!

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Resourcing >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tobin Perry

Tobin Perry

Tobin Perry has been a writer and editor in Christian media for almost 20 years. He has worked for the North American Mission Board, Saddleback Church and the International Mission Board in a variety of editorial capacities. An ordained minister, he has also served as a lead pastor at a church in Southern Indiana. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Gateway Seminary. Tobin currently lives in Evansville, IN with his wife, Charissa, and three children.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Going Old Testament with Your Tithe

When we think about tithing today, we often picture ourselves giving ten percent of our paycheck to a local church. Sometimes that involves making a donation through a mobile app, sometimes it’s dropping a check in the plate as it’s getting passed by.

Either way, we tend to think of tithing as a practice of giving money. But how did tithing work in the Old Testament, when it began? You might be surprised to know that:

  • People more often donated grain, wine, and animals than money. (They could give cash, but that was a little more expensive.)
  • Those donations didn’t just go to the clergy of the times—some went to the community, and some was eaten as a feast.
  • The people of Israel may have given anywhere from ten percent to twenty-three percent of their income!

There’s a lot we can learn about how tithing worked in Bible times, so we put together an infographic to illustrate. Check it out—and if you know anyone who would get a kick out of this information, please share!

HowTithingWorkedinOT

> Read more from Derek.


 Would you like to learn more about the tithe and generosity in your church? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Resourcing >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Gillette

My name is Derek Gillette and I am the Communications Manager for eChurchGiving and Pushpay. I like to use analogies and metaphors as a way to tell better stories. If you are a church, ministry, or non-profit leader, contact me to learn how eChurchGiving & Pushpay helps engage with young and first time givers to build lasting relationships.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

The Tension Between Technology and Faith

There’s a tension that exists sometimes when you talk about the relationship between technology and the church. A few months ago we wrote an article titled, “How Pastors Can Lead Their Church to Greater Year-End Giving.” One of the reader comments stuck out to me:

The title of this article shows the sad state of many churches today…I want to vomit when I see articles like this.

This commenter continued by saying:

When a congregation is walking with the Lord and the Holy Spirit is moving in peoples hearts and transforming them to be more like Christ, you do not need to ever preach on giving or come up with gimmicks and ideas to increase peoples giving. They will give because they are moved by the spirit to give.

Yes, the tension between technology and faith is very real.  

We wanted to dig more into the connection between faith, relevance, and technology and so we put together a short three-question study.  We then administered this study to some of the 2,500 attendees of at the recent Nazarene M15 Conference.

> Question 1:  On a scale of 1-5, how relevant do you feel your church is to your local community?

Church leaders, as a group, rated themselves a 3.5 out of 5 in terms of relevance.  This answer speaks to a feeling that their church is planted firmly in the middle between relevance and being out of touch.  Many of the pastors made comments to the effect of, “We’re close, but we’re just not quite there yet.”

> Question 2: On a scale of 1-5, how big of a role do you feel technology plays in staying relevant?

When we asked specifically about the role of technology, 78% of church leaders believe it plays a crucial or very important role in staying relevant.

> Question 3: What holds you back from being more relevant and effective in your local community: time, money, technology, or people catching the vision?

For this final question, we wanted to force church leaders to choose one of four potential lacks: time, money, technology, or people catching the vision.  We know that this is a bit of an impossible question, since they all play a part, and many pastors wanted to select all of the above.  However, when forced to choose one, 67% of church leaders chose people catching the vision.  And an underwhelming 5% chose technology as their primary lack.

What does this tell us?

While technology will never replace the importance of catching the vision, it plays a crucial role in helping churches stay relevant.

Keeping this in mind, it starts to make sense why some would feel so negative about promoting giving techniques and technology.  Technology, in place of a heart and vision connection, is never an acceptable substitute.  In fact, when responding to our original commenter, this is what I said:

What’s been really cool for us [Pushpay] is to see churches who partner with us, and after going live, see the amount of new givers increase by as much as 33%. That’s huge!

Now, were these people not obedient before, or was their heart not in the right place, or were they spiritually lacking?  I’m not sure how to answer that, but I do know that they are giving faithfully now and the church as a whole is benefitting.

How do we preserve the balance?

When we talk to churches about giving technology, we use the phrase, “Unlocking Generosity.”  This refers back to a statistic we collected several months ago on Facebook: 80% of people want to be more generous than they currently are, but 92% feel held back by a lack of money.  The desire to be generous exists; it’s just waiting to be unlocked.

I like to use the analogy of working out.  We all know we need to do it, most of us want to do it, but the act of signing up for a gym membership and then driving there multiple times a week, it’s something that very few of us do consistently.  However, if a gym existed next door to my house and a personal trainer was there waiting for me, working out would become a lot more of a regular habit.

For some people, probably 20% of us, they will exercise consistently no matter the circumstances.  For the remaining 80%, we may exercise from time to time, but getting that extra boost is what’s needed to develop a healthy and regular routine.

We work hard to help churches engage those 80% of non-regular givers, knowing that the technology is just a tool to make the process easier, resulting in an outcome that gets us all excited: a changed heart and healthy habits that help transform us to be more like Christ.

> Read more from Derek.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Resourcing >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Gillette

My name is Derek Gillette and I am the Communications Manager for eChurchGiving and Pushpay. I like to use analogies and metaphors as a way to tell better stories. If you are a church, ministry, or non-profit leader, contact me to learn how eChurchGiving & Pushpay helps engage with young and first time givers to build lasting relationships.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Stop Asking Millennials for Money

Drawing on the findings from research into giving by millennials here and here, I’ve compiled six traits of young givers that charities and non-profits would be wise to keep in mind as they look to engage with the $200b spending power of the Millennial generation:

1. We like to invest in ideas that actually make a difference

Photos of starving children don’t stir us to donate, rather they stir us to care about fixing the root of the problem. We want to donate toward something that will help prevent poverty, hunger and trafficking altogether. Have you noticed the term “social enterprise” is on the rise? As the discussion on development and market-based solutions is advancing, so is our interest in innovative ideas to donate to. Or rather invest in.

2. Our buying looks like our giving

Many creatives and entrepreneurs have recognized the opportunity to blend social impact with business. This competition has driven an increase in the quality of socially-benefitting goods, and they’re no longer just unworn beaded bracelets from Africa. Many of them are really cool and mainstream now. Check out Boll & Branch’s comfy fair trade and organic throw blankets, or these leather bags and jewelry from fashionABLE.

3. The experience is everything

The cost of traditional entertainment is through the roof these days. Since we go to the movies less these days (the cost of that alone rivals a nice meal out), we instead hope our donation experience will give us some level of satisfaction. Invitations to attend meet and greats, events, volunteer functions, and best yet, a seat at the table for decision-making, all of these engage the Millennial’s desire to create a memorable experience.

4. Smartphones are good for more than just social media

For years, charities have pushed social media campaigns on us, inviting us to share and tag and hashtag and what not. But we’re doing more on our smartphone than just social media. Propelled into the mainstream by the introduction of Apple Pay, more of us are not carrying around cash, and we’re definitely not carrying around checkbooks. We want the ease of payment through our phones, but only if it can be as simple and streamlined as a song download. At eChurchGiving we’ve found that 85 percent of users abandon mobile giving attempts if the transaction takes longer than 30 seconds. Average experiences for online giving can take up to three or more minutes. That’s a major lost opportunity for most charities and churches.

5. Embrace the Thrifty

As mentioned above, many Millennials are caught in this tension of feeling generous, wanting to be more generous, but being held back by thrifty habits. However, position a campaign in a way that taps into both thriftiness and generosity, and Millennials will jump on board. An example, Kickstarter’s Founder just started Dollar a Day, where you commit to donate a dollar each day, and they send you an email each morning with the story of the non-profit your dollar went to. That’s one thrifty way of donating $365.

6. It’s cool to care

I grew up in an era where it was cool not to care, about anything. Sagging pants, oversized hoodies, poor posture, and one word answers, these were the character traits of many popular figures. Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore. The rise of technology has made intellect a valued commodity. Combine that with the shared desire to leave the world a better place, it’s all of a sudden really really cool to care. And not just to care, but to do something about it.

How are you engaging the Millennials in your church in generosity?

Download PDF

Tags: , , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Vision >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Derek Gillette

My name is Derek Gillette and I am the Communications Manager for eChurchGiving and Pushpay. I like to use analogies and metaphors as a way to tell better stories. If you are a church, ministry, or non-profit leader, contact me to learn how eChurchGiving & Pushpay helps engage with young and first time givers to build lasting relationships.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

clarkd52 — 05/13/15 2:14 pm

Or they could be taught that giving is not for us to feel good about, but to honor God with the resources He blessed us with.

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.