HOW TO CLOSE THE GAP: Bad Data Leads to Imperfect Decisions

August 14, 2019 –

The contemporary church will experience power and growth if we replace going to church with the act of gathering together to worship.

When our churches show the characteristics of the early church, growth follows. People must notice what you are doing; see the love for God, and one another, and the joy in our lives. When people witness this, they will want what we have.

When I write about the early church and the contemporary church, it can seem like the story is white and black—that the early church was all excellent and the modern church dreadful. They both serve the same God. Being like the early church is not the goal; being God’s people in modern times is THE goal!

Suggestion: Update Records; Incorrect Data Leads to Imperfect Decisions

An excellent way to reestablish the church as a community gathered to worship is to make a list of small tasks you can do to help the members develop strong relationships;  work your way up to the big things. Commit to doing one thing on your list each month that brings you closer to your goal —Developing people who introduce people to Jesus and help them grow.

The pastor, church staff, and church members must own the problem and the responsibility for its solution.

It may be time to review the number of people on the church rolls and decide if it is a realistic number. Have any died, moved or, attend another church? For some churches, this will be hard as they struggle with the idea we’ve never done that before. Or, that’s not right; we don’t want to lose contact with any person. Don’t worry; many church rolls contain phantom members.

A business (and we are thinking about the business side of the church), must plan and use actual numbers. If you base a plan on flawed numbers; you have a flawed strategy.

Say, you have 200 names on your roll and baptized five people last year. Divide the enrollment by the number baptized shows the church needed 40 believers to save one soul. If the adjusted membership is 150 members, it took 30 believers to win a soul. A correct church roll provides help when budgeting and helps with resource allocation.

As you verify the rolls, you may uncover some interesting information: some members have a new home address, cell phone number, a couple may have divorced, or someone just needed to be contacted, and shown an interest. 

The goal is to verify you are dealing with actual resident members of your church. (I suggest two rolls, one listing resident members, and the other non-resident members). Don’t feel threatened by this task; exact numbers remove the fear of making the wrong assumptions.

You aren’t determining whether the people are Christians, only that they are real people on your church rolls that attend or at one time attended.

I suggest once you have an up-to-date membership roll; you plan a particular Sunday (homecoming Sunday), contact and invite everyone on the new correct roll.