Back in the days when I was involved in Toastmasters, I used to carry a “pocket speech” with me to every meeting. A pocket speech was a pre-prepared three- to five-minute speech that I could present just in case the scheduled speaker didn’t show up. Every member of our club was encouraged to have a pocket speech.
Today I recommend that pastors carry around their “pocket numbers.” This list is more important than almost any speech you could prepare (your personal testimony being the most important speech you should be ready to present). These pocket numbers are simply a collection of some not-so-random congregational statistics that pastors should be tracking so that they are always very aware of the health and vitality of their congregations.
And yes, I realize that numbers don’t tell the whole
story … but I find that those who complain loudest about how we put too much emphasis on numbers are pastors who are leading declining churches. On the other hand, I’ve found that virtually every effective pastor of a growing church is well acquainted with most of their pocket numbers – and has plenty of inspiring anecdotes in their pockets as well.
- Average worship attendance in the last 12 months
- Average number of first-time visitors each week
- Average number of first-time visitors who match the target audience each week
- Average number of first-time visitors who return
- Average number of first-time visitors who match the target audience who return
- Number of adult (conversion) baptisms in the last 12 months
- Percent of adults involved in a small group
- Percent of adults involved in church-sponsored, off-site missions
- Average per capita giving in the last 12 months
Question: What numbers would you add to your Pocket Number List? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below.