Thursday, January 8, 2009

End of Year Reports Dilemma

What do you do about worship attendance. No one kept records of worship attendance the year before I arrived at Trinity. So for the last part of 2007 I kept detail records. For that last part of the year we averaged 87 people per Sunday. In 2008 I recorded each week of the year and after tossing out the highest and lowest Sunday and dividing by 50, I got 84.

Now that doesn't really reflect what is happening at the church. Our worship attendance has actually increased this year. The problem comes in THE SUMMER (dum, dum, dum). The summer is way down because of vacations, beach houses, and the fact it is summer. If I remove the summer from my calculations the average is 91.

If I report the 84 I will have the lowest attendance average on record in the past couple of years (the previous ones have been estimates and not on hard data). The dilemma lies in, do I could the summer or not? The officials rules state to include every Sunday and if I don't I may be accused of padding numbers to look better (something I don't want to do either).

What do you all do? And what do you recommend?


Anonymous said...

I would turn in the 84. Then, that becomes the basis for comparing future averages. If you use the 84 this year, then future year averages will offer a more accurate comparison, regardless of how numbers fluctuate during the year.

gavin richardson said...

in talking to revmom last night she was mentioned a calculation of attendance that mixed in how active members were. ie. 11 - four sunday fams. 4 - 12 sunday familes. 32 - 24 sunday fams. 13 - 45 sunday fams

harder stat, but you got a little more idea how committed people are verses just heads.

for now i'd just turn in the low number. then you'll have a huge increase next year.

Dr. Tony said...

I would post the full year.

In addition, this allows you to compare each Sunday (just make sure that you are comparing lectionary Sundays and not calendar Sundays). One year, the attendance might be over 100 and the following year on the same Sunday might be ~55. You will wonder why the big difference until you see that the big Sunday was Easter and the other Sunday wasn't.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the info. As I thought about it more I realized that although lower the 84 WILL give a better historical figures to look back on.

Dr. Tony, love the suggestion about keeping track of Sundays as well. Now that has me wondering if I should keep track of when i do lectionary vs series. Then I can track what is attracting people as well. Great ideas, keep'em coming if ya got 'em.

Anonymous said...

Turn in the true number for whole year, the 84. Having followed a pastor in one church who turned in complete lies about the attendance (double or triple the real number), I feel strongly that using the true count really matters as an issue of basic integrity. My predecessor in that appointment lacked integrity in that area, and it felt good to restore it. I know that is not an apples to apples comparison to your situation, but the basic principle of telling the truth is important to uphold.