Metrics for the UMC: Comparing Stories (2 of 3)

Clearly numbers do not tell the whole story of a local church, annual conference or denomination. There are stories of life change that are more important than raw data. One of the challenges of collecting stories is how to report them. It is far easier to look at a graph of worship attendance at our church over time and seek to draw conclusions over time. How do you look back over time and compare stories that have been collected?

  • Number of stories?
  • Category of stories?
  • Stories of visitors?
  • Community impact?
How do you collect stories of people and tell them in a way that builds up the body of Christ both at the time and will be able to used in a meaningful way in the future?

Metrics for the UMC: A Question of Counting (1 of 3)

Several weeks ago, I wrote a series about Why Numbers Matter in the UMC and I wanted to follow that up with some thoughts that I have been percolating on since then.

Statistically, for metrics to be any good they need to be measuring the same thing across time and among different locations. I don’t have any conclusions today, but just a question:

What is the standard for counting worship attendance? Do you include:

  • Children?
  • Infants in the Nursery?
  • Adults?
  • Volunteers?
  • Staff?
What do you count at your church for worship attendance?

Blessings of Ministry – Mission (2 of 3)

There are many blessings of being in ministry as the pastor of a local church. One of these blessings is the opportunity to lead our congregation in mission to the community. In my role at Resurrection West, I have the opportunity to work with a great team of volunteers on the Mission team that organizes and equips our congregation to serve others and share Christ. I love being able to help people live out God’s call in their life.

What blessings do you find in ministry?

Why Numbers Matter in the UMC – Learning (2 of 3)

Christ United Methodist Church in Rochester, M...

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Vitality seems to be the talk of The United Methodist Church. From the invitation to be a Vital Congregation to tracking metrics through Vital Signs, there has been a wide variety of response to the movement to increasing the level of reporting of involvement across several areas of local churches.

Let me be clear about where I stand – tracking numbers matters for The United Methodist Church.

If there is a church in my district whose professions of faith or persons involved in missions is far above average – I want to know about it. I want to learn from the leaders there what is working and how I might take what they are doing and adapt it in my own setting. Tracking numbers and sharing them across the conference allows this to happen.

Why Numbers Matter in the UMC – Naming Reality (1 of 3)

First United Methodist Church in Montgomery, LA

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Vitality seems to be the talk of The United Methodist Church. From the invitation to be a Vital Congregation to tracking metrics through Vital Signs, there has been a wide variety of response to the movement to increasing the level of reporting of involvement across several areas of local churches.

I have heard a great deal of critique about these additional requirements for local church leaders. Are numbers really important? Are we measuring success or significance? Won’t this be more harm than good?

Let me be clear about where I stand – tracking numbers matters for The United Methodist Church.

This practice, in itself, will not lead to renewal. However, I believe that it can be a helpful tool for our congregations to provide mutual accountability and support. Many people focus on the accountability of tracking and resulting impact on self esteem in the congregation. Whatever the reality of involvement is, tracking doesn’t change it. Tracking shines a light on current reality. If we aren’t honest with ourselves about reality, there is no possibility of effectively moving forward.

Knowing where we are is a prerequisite to go where we want to go – a future of hope and renewal as we seek to spread scriptural holiness across the land.

First Two Weeks at Resurrection West

I have had a great first two weeks as part of the Resurrection West team. I started as Associate Campus Pastor on August 15 and have loved the opportunity to be part of what God is doing through this community in the western part of Johnson County. There is an amazing team of staff and volunteers that make opportunities to know, love and serve God possible each day.

My task over these two weeks has been to step into some of my immediate areas of responsibility and get to know people. It is a brand new congregation for me to get to know. I have met with couples and individuals almost every day to hear their story of connection at West and listen for the words of wisdom and guidance they have for me as an associate pastor here.

At times it can feel exciting, confusing, peaceful, important, fascinating and sometimes a mix of all of these at once. I am looking forward to the days ahead!

Opportunity to Partner with Resurrection

I am on a strategic project team at Resurrection that is looking for three small churches, currently led by lay speakers, local pastors, or student local pastors, who would be interested in testing a new model for ministry – these churches would, for one year, become a part of a multi-point circuit with Resurrection. The aim is to see what we might do together to strengthen small churches. Resurrection would provide 36 weeks of sermons via video, coaching, and other resources.

I am excited to see what fruit may be born with this model of ministry. What would you see as some of the greatest benefits and biggest challenges to exploring ministry in this way?