How Management Reports Support Ministry

Have you ever had one of those warning indicators light up on your car’s dashboard? Whether it’s the indicator for tire pressure or to check the engine, you know that means it’s time to give your vehicle some attention. Well, one morning I started up my car and every single light came on. I’m not car expert, but that didn’t seem good so I drove straight to the dealership. Thankfully it was just an electrical wiring short and they were able to fix it and have me back on the road that day.

Those warning indicators are there to tell us when something isn’t quite right with our vehicles. It may not be urgent, but there’s still a good reason to have it checked out. Similarly, management reports are indicators for your church. As you review various reports, you’ll see trends (whether positive or negative); signs that something is working or an area that needs some extra attention.

If we have a solid set of reports with reliable data, we can use that information to help us make better decisions, correct course if we’re slightly off-track, and see how we’re progressing. So, what types of management reports should your church leadership team use?

Management Report #1: Financials

No, we’re not all about the money. However, we all know it takes money to pay the mortgage, hire (and keep) staff, pay the electric bill, and much more. You need to know the church’s financial health on at least a monthly (if not weekly) basis. This report should include an Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Budget vs. Actuals, and trend analysis for tithes and expenses (how are we doing this month vs. the same month last year)?

Management Report #2: People in Service

This will certainly fluctuate from week to week and during certain times of the year. However, it’s still helpful to see if the number of people in each service is increasing and which service people are gravitating towards. Also, don’t just keep track of the number of adults in the main service. You’ll also want to know how many children and teens are in their services. That data will also help you determine if you need to start recruiting more volunteers for the nursery (baby boom?) or other children’s areas.

Management Report #3: People in Small Groups

If your church has small groups, then you’ll want some data points on this as well.

  • How many people are signed up for a small group?
  • How many actually attend their small group each week?
  • What percentage of the church membership is in a small group?
  • What percentage of attendees (non-members) are in a small group?

Management Report #4: Event Participation

If your church hosts various events throughout the year that people have to register to attend, keep track of that information. Track how many people signed up for and attended each event. If this is an event you host each year, compare the current numbers to prior years to see if there’s a trend up or down.

Management Report #5: Conversions

We all want to see more people come to Christ and begin their journey as His followers. When people make that commitment at your church, you’ll want to help them grow in their faith. Part of that effort involves documenting their decision and helping them into discipleship classes, a small group, or other growth opportunity. Find out if your church is attracting non-believers and whether they are deciding to follow Christ by keeping track of these numbers. You may also want to include how many baptisms occur each year.

Management Report #6: Membership

Who attends your church? How many people are in each age range? How many men, women, singles, married couples, couples with children, single parents, etc.? Part of communicating effectively involves knowing your audience. We aren’t defined by our demographics, but we are certainly impacted by what season of life we’re in and what we’ve experienced. Knowing the demographics of your attendees could help you decide which events to host, what sermon series to do next, etc.

Management Report #7: Volunteers

Volunteers are a vital aspect of any church, so you’ll want to monitor the health of your volunteer program. How many volunteers do you have in each area (greeters, ushers, parking lot, coffee bar, bookstore, nursery)? What percentage of your membership serves? How many volunteers are added each month vs. how many “quit” or leave each month.

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of potential management reports, but I hope it gets you thinking about what “indicator lights” you may need to add or enhance. As you gather this information and review the story the data reveals, I’m confident you’ll be able to make even better decisions and avoid potential issues down the road.

What management reports do you use? How have those helped your leadership team?