Relationships are essential to the life of a healthy church. New people come through your doors and others leave through those same doors. The key for church leaders is what happens in between.
You have to both keep people engaged enough they want to stay, and identify people who seem like they are disconnecting before they actually disconnect. With a whole congregation to manage, this is no easy feat—especially that second part—which is why churches lose members.
Fortunately, this is an area where data can definitely assist ministries.
Using Data to Identify “Connected” & “Disconnected” Congregation Members
Attendance tracking is one of the best ways to measure who’s all-in and who’s on their way out. Attendance tracking not only allows you to measure your church’s performance against your values, but also enables you to find the people who are disengaging before it is too late.
One of the features we built into our TouchPoint Church Management System is the ability to define individuals as “connected”. If a church member has attended two times in the last month and given once in the last month, they automatically get a “connected” badge on their people record. The badge status is updated dynamically based on their attendance and giving history with no extra work for your staff.
You can also have reports automatically emailed to your small group leaders when their participants have missed two weeks in a row, or generate other reports to track people who were formerly “connected” but are no longer. Using this data can help you proactively re-engage certain members of the congregation and communicate with them before they leave permanently.
Putting Data to Work to Prevent Members from Disconnecting
Here are four ways you can identify members at risk to disconnect and engage them before they check out:
Equip lay leaders with technology that allows them to check people into classes, mid-week small groups, and other activities that require regular attendance. Nowadays there are church apps that sync this data with the larger church database.
Run regular attendance reports out of your Church Management System to see who is dropping off, and have a plan prepared for how to reach out to those individuals.
Over time, analyze attendance data to see if there are any telling trends. You may discover that certain demographics tend to peak or drop off at certain times of the year.
Use the information you find in step three to equip lay leaders with strategies to combat lagging attendance or help new members assimilate more quickly and easily.
By monitoring your data for those red flags, you can make sure to be there for congregation members when they need you most. And sometimes a single interaction or a simple show of concern is all it takes to keep a church member from walking out the door.