The Church Health & Growth Data That Stood Out to Me This Quarter

q4 2019

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    Quarterly Unstuck Church Report

Health + Growth Metrics in Our New Q4 2019 edition of The Unstuck Church Report

Exactly two years ago, my team released the very first version of The Unstuck Church Report.

With that first one, I was excited to get to look back on previous years and notice the changes in ministry. 

A few quarters ago, I even dissected the difference in growing and declining churches in each of the key areas. It was fascinating. 

If you haven’t read one of these reports before, it consists of 20 metrics that highlight trends we’re seeing that have an impact on church health. We focus on 5 key areas (Ministry Reach, Staffing and Leadership, Connection, Finances and Ministry Health) to give you an objective look at where the Church may be headed.

Each quarter, I like to share the data that stands out to me.  

This quarter, there were three areas in particular that I want to dig into—

1. The Front Door Challenge

I wasn’t surprised to see this show up. When my team and I work with churches, this is something that I see often. 

For churches to maintain health and growth over time, the number of first-time guests over a 12-month period needs to be equal to or greater than their average weekly attendance. But, on average, we’re seeing churches of 1,000 average 490 first time guests in one year. 

This is a theme we’ve seen for a while in our quarterly reports.

While the “ministry connection” numbers are getting stronger for churches, churches are seeing fewer first-time guests. These numbers combined suggest churches really are dealing with more of a “front door” than a “back door” challenge.

Download the Latest Unstuck Church Report

2. An Increase in Group Engagement Isn’t Necessarily a Win

In this quarter’s data, we saw churches report that 64% of adults and students are in small groups, but only 44% of adults and students are engaged in volunteering.

On the surface, this may look like a win. Yes, it’s encouraging that so many people are connecting into small groups for community and Bible study. 

However, our experience has found that people who volunteer are actually far more “engaged” in the mission of the church and that impacts many aspects of church health, including frequency of worship attendance, invitations to new guests and giving, as examples.

3. Governance Complexity and Declining Churches

Back when I wrote the article series on the differences in growing and declining churches, the same data stuck out to me..

Declining churches have twice as many committees.

Churches that have large decision-making boards and multiple additional committees generally struggle, but it should be no surprise. 

The more people you have making decisions about what can or can’t happen in ministry, the fewer people you have actually doing ministry. 

Growing churches have streamlined their governance structure to eliminate unnecessary committees and the meetings that go with them. 

This allows these churches to be more nimble when it comes to decision-making. Tough decisions that impact the overall health of the church don’t get bogged down in various layers of bureaucracy.

Super interesting data on church health from @unstuckgroup. Check it out here. Click To Tweet

This data is just the beginning. This Q4 2019 report holds some really compelling data on 15+ other metrics. 

I really believe this tool can help you take some valuable steps towards health in your ministry. I hope you’ll check it out. 

Download the Latest Unstuck Church Report.

Looking at something from a different angle with more insight can bring powerful awareness. This report is a good place to start. Click To Tweet


Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

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