It is remarkable to see church technology surge over the past decade. Websites and church management systems were once the luxury of large churches, but now they’re treated as fundamental necessities by even church plants.
And the underlying byproduct of these tools is data – deep reservoirs of data offering new ministry insights and potential.
But is data good? With the right heart attitude and priorities, yes.
How Data Helps People and Churches
Data analytics is (1) collecting, (2) inputting, (3) protecting, and (4) mining information to gain a better understanding of cultural and spiritual needs as well as gain insight into how to run our spiritual races better. ACTIVE Faith, the creator of Fellowship One, offers one of the most robust data reporting tools available for churches. To help you better understand reporting, they are offering a free downloadable checklist of Questions You Should Ask Every Church Management Software Provider About Church Data Reporting.
Keep in mind that man’s metrics cannot measure heart attitude or spiritual fruit. Only God does that. Data analytics can, however, give us insights into the probability of such spiritual successes.
In other words, we still desperately need God and His guidance in our ministries. First, we listen to and obey the Holy Spirit. Then we can use data analytics within the boundaries of the calling we’ve been given. The real pitfall in data analytics is if we put our analysis of the data first and God last (or leave Him out of the equation).
Imagine God has given you a passion and burden to reach middle school students. You do not have any specific guidance other than this, so you experiment with 4 new events and programs. Attendance may be good at all of them and, thus, seemingly successful, but your data analytics report that one approach is far more successful at getting the attendance plugged in to long-term discipleship. All 4 events fit within the boundaries of God’s guidance, but because of your data reporting, you are able to focus your time, money, and resources on the approach that is more fruitful and better stewardship.
Imagine the same situation where your data reporting shows that one approach is better, but then God guides you to instead focus one an approach that performed dismally at long-term discipleship commitment. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense in our eyes. Just obey the new, narrowed scope that God has given you.
Of course, there are plenty of other possibilities. In fact, the world of data analytics can offer fresh perspectives across a wide array of ministry applications.
Good data reporting helps churches respond proactively not just reactively, but the key is knowing how to do data reporting well.
Data Reporting The Way It Should Be
Reporting is the physical process of mining a database for its hidden insights. And in order to maximize the use of data, you’ll need a robust reporting tool. With such a tool, leaders can identify individual history of:
- annual commitment renewal
- spiritual growth steps (e.g., baptism)
- leadership steps (e.g., small group leadership)
Such data reporting offers leaders touchpoints to assess challenges, understand successes, and remember history (particularly the history of individual volunteers or church members). And the larger a church grows, the more helpful data reporting is.
If a children’s ministry knows a child hasn’t visited within the past month, a teacher can call the family to see if everything is okay. It is a thoughtful gesture that not only helps teachers connect with parents but also can present opportunities for prayer in cases where a family illness or crisis caused the absence.
Don’t forget ACTIVE Faith is offering a free downloadable checklist of Questions You Should Ask Every Church Management Software Provider About Church Data Reporting.
Special thanks to ACTIVE Faith for supporting Church Relevance by sponsoring this post.