One of my most frequently asked questions is: “What should I count in my small group ministry?” Here are the seven numbers I’m looking for:
1. Average adult worship attendance: This gives you a baseline attendance number that provides one of the numbers you need to determine percentage connected.
2. Most recent holiday adult worship attendance: Whether Christmas Eve or Easter, this provides a baseline attendance number that reflects the real percentage connected. See also, What Percentage of Your Adults are Actually Connected?
3. Number of small groups: Depending on your group philosophy, this can reflect just off-campus groups or the number of groups where certain factors exist (i.e., the ingredients of life-change) and might include both off-campus and on-campus. See also, Essential Ingredients for Life-Change.
4. Number of new groups started: This is often an annual count and helps determine whether your strategy is keeping pace with the need.
5. Number of facilitators: This annual count can help determine both the status of leadership incubation and the sustainability of your groups. See also, Skill Training: How to Develop More Leaders.
6. Number of groups that meet at more than one location: Along with #5, this number is a predictor of the sustainability of your groups. See also, Skill Training: Rotating Host Homes.
7. Number of open groups: Depending on your small group ministry philosophy, this number reflects inclusiveness.
How often should you be taking a census? At least annually and definitely at a regular time of the year. For example, North Coast takes a census in October that provides a snapshot of their percentage connected. Saddleback waits for the dust to clear on their annual fall campaign and then takes their count.