From around the globe, people tune in on Fletch’s warm and sound advice. He’s a friend and “church doctor,” bringing an objective perspective, broad knowledge and vast experience. Your question will get a personal reply from Fletch.
Hey Fletch … We are attempting to develop some type of post-ministry evaluation form for the purpose of getting feedback from attendees of selected ministries or outreach events. Do you all have any samples of this type of document?
DRF—Nice to hear from you and what a great looking website your church has … clean, easy to read, informative!
Let me applaud you for wanting metrics from attendees of events. These are “leading indicators” of how a church is doing. There is a great article in the KPI library on Lagging and Leading Indicators. In it is this illustration: “For many of us a personal goal is weight loss. A clear lagging indicator that is easy to measure. You step on a scale and you have your answer. But how do you actually reach your goal? For weight loss there are 2 “leading” indicators: 1. Calories taken in and 2. Calories burned. These 2 indicators are easy to influence but very hard to measure. When you order lunch in a restaurant the amount of calories is not listed on the menu. And if you are me, you have no clue how many calories you burn on a given day.”
In the church, counting how many people are at an event is a lagging indicator. You are going for the gold, the leading indicator. This is the metric of “what did those people experience when they were at the event.”
Generally, paper response forms don’t work but they do litter your campus. An electronic response form on the free SurveyMonkey might get some answers. Likert scale responses (“1” is low and “7” is high, pick one) are quick response mechanisms that can give good data. The best data is the first person response, “I went to the event with my family and I was a little nervous bringing our young kids. Everyone made it so easy for us in the nursery and we enjoyed the marriage seminar.”
The best responses that I have received are email based. After an event, try sending out an email to the attendees. Make it short and simple. Only ask for feedback in the email, with no pitch for future events. Select open ended questions, such as: 1) What was a high point for you at the event? 2) What could we do to better next time? 3) What three words come to your mind about the presentation at the event?
Hey Prof … I’m about maxed out in my job at church. I’m putting in 65 hours a week and still not getting it all done. My wife is fussing at me all the time. Help!
DRF—We all hit “Ceilings of Competency.” This is when our current skills take us to the limit of what we can humanly do. Working more hours will be like a hamster on a treadmill. You won’t get any more work done and only frustrate yourself, your family and ministry.
Get with a friend, ministry colleague or coach. For two weeks, keep a detailed calendar of how you are investing your time. Review that with your mentor. What is it that only you can do and what can you give to others? Generally, pastors fail at doing Ephesians 4, “equipping the saints for ministry.” Pastors tend to do ministry by themselves and fail to build strong and empowered teams around them. You will find that as the team leads ministry with you, that you will break through the ceiling of competency. Team members will go with you to new levels of effectiveness.
Hey Doc … I’m trying to gauge how warm our church is. I feel that it is a super encouraging place to be, but some visitors are telling me otherwise. Any thoughts?
DRF—Here is my simple litmus test. How many times have your members invited you to a small group or class? In sharing this litmus test with an elder recently, he said, “never.” He added, “maybe our church needs some help in being more welcoming!”
Announcements from the stage are fine. Their effectiveness often is in the 1% to 3% range. Consider that if you have 1,000 people in the audience, an announcement may get 10 to 30 responses. What would happen if 500 people regularly invited folks to their groups? I would hazard to say that over a year, yourgroups would double in size. The warmth of a personal and face-to-face invitation is effective.
Hey Fletch … In Australia the trend is quickly moving away from every week attendance. People who almost never missed a Sunday, maybe missed once a month, now maybe only come once a month. Yet if you asked them they are still ‘committed’ and consider our church to be their spiritual home. We may have 200 average Sunday morning service attendance, but over a 4 week period may have over 350 separate individuals who came. Do you have any advice?
DRF—There are trends in many US churches where people are going to church 2x a month. Posting the services or sermons online may contribute a bit to it … “we will go away for the weekend and still catch the message.”
Many churches are have vibrant sermon based small groups. Larry Osborne tells me that at North Coast an overwhelming number of their members are in small groups. The sermon is developed with questions for the groups, and the groups are the hub of shepherding life. People may think they won’t be missed from the worship service. But, everyone who is absent is missed in a small group.
Response from Larry Osborne—Our small group percentage is a public number. We use it internally more than externally. But it is free to share. Our benchmark is a comparison of an October average adult attendance with October small group attendance. We have been above 80% for 32 years and 92-97% for the last 10 years or so.