Church Data Only Offers Solutions When it Drives Action
We consciously, or subconsciously, match our reactions to the information we have available. Another way to think of this is through the idea of “know and match.” The more we know, the better we’re able to match our responses. For example, when you connect to your weather app you know the forecast and can match your clothing or activities accordingly. You act on the information provided.
Doctors predict disease based on genetics and family history, which allow them to act by providing preventative care. As a pastor, when you see data indicating your members are at risk of divorce, you can act on that data by planning sermons that focus on building stronger relationships or promoting marriage support groups.
Access and Use Church Data Today
There are many ways you can collect data to understand the needs of your congregation and community. Here are a few tools you can use today.
Social media analytics.
There are many ways to collect and analyze your church data from social media. Facebook has Insights, and Twitter has Analytics. Additional tools are available through LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media channels—and there are other resources with advice about how to understand what these tools surface, and to help you with the heavy lifting of interpreting the data.
Surveys and assessments.
Many churches use surveys to assess the needs of their members through first-party information. These can be done through software like SurveyMonkey or SurveyGizmo to assess the spiritual and temporal needs of your congregants.
Some churches find it helpful to collect data through formal assessments, but church data can also be collected in meetings, private interviews, or detailed reports from church leaders.
Demographics can provide a lot of insight into your community. Through these reports, you can often access religious affiliation, marital status, household income, and the ages of residents.
Third-party data vendors.
While some data can be collected from individual sources, there are services that gather, sort, and provide data for their clients on a much larger scale—searching millions in their databases and producing thousands of data points per person for analysis. This information creates predictive models of behavior.
In other words, you’ll be able to know things like a specific person’s likelihood to get divorced or your congregation’s need of financial support.
If you decide to use a data analytics platform make sure you select one that corresponds with the data you need to reach your local community and congregants. Also, be sure it provides a high degree of privacy—like having a certified data center. If you are wondering how data can turbocharge your ministry: Take your next steps toward an effective digital strategy by watching this free 90-minute webinar. You’ll learn from a handful of experts in the church marketing and tech industries who show you how data can strengthen the people you serve.)
A Note About Privacy
When using church data and analytics, it’s important to keep the details private. When working with a trusted data analytics platform, all identifying information is kept private. The data is processed, scrubbed of any personal details, and then returned to you with only relevant information.
At Gloo, we’re passionate about data integrity and privacy. Data is increasingly important in the world we live in, and we believe using the power of data for good is essential and a moral imperative.
Know your People to Match them to the Right Resources
Provide Opportunities for Growth
It’s important to remember that church data is predictive, not prescriptive. It should gather known ideas, habits, demographics, and activities—allowing you to organize the information to represent the whole and act on it. Churches that use the power of data in this way are able to predict struggles and pain points—and they generally know more about their congregants and community. When they use that information to tailor their message, they see long-term engagement that leads to personal growth.
As Carey Nieuwhof explains,
“I’m trying to read the minds of the people in the audience, in the congregation every week and I’m trying to think through the minds of a church person, of a non-church person, someone on the verge of divorce, someone who’s single . . . You run your message through a lot of filters, but with data, you can actually know.”
Using data in your church is about understanding your congregation’s needs and then matching those needs with relevant solutions. As you learn more, you can match more accurately and take a proactive approach to ministry. The outcome is personal growth for your people.
GET THE GUIDE TO DATA AND THE CHURCH