In discipleship discussions, we often quote 2 Timothy 2:2 as a pillar text for understanding discipleship that multiplies disciples. The idea, of course, is that Paul invested in training Timothy and was encouraging him to invest in other people who would invest in others.
Notice the adjective that Paul uses to describe the people in whom Timothy was to invest his time. Depending on your translation, the word is generally reliable (NIV, NLT), or faithful (ESV, NASB, KJV). It is someone in whom you trust.
Generally, we judge another person's trustworthiness intuitively, based on our personal experience with them. But, a business consulting firm called Trusted Advisor has developed an equation to help businesses measure trust. (Click image to learn more.)
Each of the factors in this equation, if used to measure trustworthiness in a church, can be tracked by well thought through use of data. But, today's post is on the central element in the numerator - Reliability. Right out of 2 Timothy 2:2.
We realized a number of years ago that you could evaluate the relative health of a small group based on the reliability (consistency) of attendance. That is attendance / enrollment. For groups of 6-12 we identify 80+% attendance as "healthy", 50-80% attendance as "normal", and < 50% as "at risk".
For larger groups we tend to lower the percentage rates to 60+% "healthy", 30-60% "normal", < 30% "at risk". Here's what this metric does for you:
- Identify leaders. Your healthiest groups are modelling and developing your best future leaders.
- Prioritize coaching. At risk groups show discipleship pastors and coaching teams which groups most need attention.
- Track ministry growth. Identifying the number and percentage of groups in each tier helps you see how well you are developing your overall groups ministry.
Monthly Report. For years, we've provided churches with a monthly group health report that looks like this. Notice the colors based on consistency (Avg %).
Upgrade to Attendance by Group Report. Last week we added functionality to the Attendance by Group Report that sorts the groups by consistency.
It also allows you to click in any header to sort any way that you want. The new default is most to least consistent.
Automate the report. Start by creating the report (Reports > Groups > Attendance by Group, Choose which groups). Next Save the report with an easily identifiable name and a dynamic date range.
Then schedule it to go out each week. Reports > Schedule Report.
Potential. This report will now come to me each Monday showing me the consistency rate of all our small groups for the last six weeks. From this report, I would know which groups to go to for leadership, which ones to prioritize for pastoral care, and have a better feel each week for the overall health of the ministry.
This is the potential of using the today's Churchteams database to powerfully inform pastors of the condition of the groups and people they are called to shepherd. Let us know how we can help.