Create a scorecard for measuring ministry

By Jim LaDoux
It’s important that we evaluate the impact and reach of the ministries we offer so that we know what we should KEEP doing, STOP doing, or perhaps START doing. As church leaders, being good stewards of what God has given us, requires that we must evaluate the value of our existing ministries. When evaluating ministries, we need to gather BOTH quantitative and qualitative information. I invite you to create a ministry scorecard and suggest several numbers you may wish to track but it's important that we recognize that we can't measure ministry by numbers alone. In addition to keeping score (with numbers) consider a few additional options below.

1 | Ask outcome-oriented questions 

Most churches offer Sunday school classes to help people build a vibrant faith but we can't assume that when people show up to classes, that it is automatically transforming people's spiritual lives. As leaders, we must ask, "Is it working? How do we know?" And, "How can we find out?"  The evaluation process begins by focusing on outcomes. Clearly defined outcomes are critical for several reasons:

  • They make our work purposeful. When we can name and describe the change we feel called to make in our churches, our people, and our communities, we gain a sense of purpose, identity, and meaning.
  • They force us to confront the danger of “doing things” that may not get us anywhere. They invite us to ask what needs to happen to move us from our present reality to a preferred future that continuously transforms people's lives change we are seeking to make.
  • They focus us to find better ways to be church and fulfill our ministry outcomes. Ask people when an event is wrapping up, "What was most impactful for you about this event?" Ask, "If we were to repeat, what changes would you suggest that we make?" or "What did you experience during this event that helped you connect with God or with other people?"
Review your mission, vision, and values. List the outcomes that are mission-critical if the mission is to be fulfilled. Then start asking questions that keep people focused on what matters most.  If we're building disciples, a good question might be,  "What are the marks of a disciple?" If we're seeking to help build meaningful relationships at church, we might ask, "Who have you recently met at church that you've become friends with?" 

2 | Capture Stories of transformation 

Some things are difficult to count or measure but matter a lot. This is where stories, especially stories of transformation, can be valuable. Collecting and sharing stories of transformation can help others understand more deeply what change is like. Stories can, for example, convey the richness of an outreach ministry’s interactions with families in need, the human impact of a recovery ministry’s engagement in faith formation, or the joy of growing into more faithful giving and what experiencing that joy has felt like for an individual or a family. Stories can be remarkably effective at clarifying detail, nuance and meaning, and helping a listener or reader gain empathy for another’s experience. Collecting and sharing stories of transformation will help leaders to better understand the people they serve, the needs they face, and the possibilities for impact.

2 | Gather numbers to supplement your questions & stories 

If you're a church leader,  I encourage you to track many of the items listed below. The use the responses to the questions you ask and the stories you capture to add new insight to what the numbers actually mean. Consider ways you'll share the numbers with your leaders and infuse them with new insights that come out of the interviewing and story capturing process.


  • __________  Member households.
  • __________  Baptized/confirmed members (adults). 
  • __________  Baptized/unconfirmed members (children).
  • __________  Average age of members.
  • __________  New members/year.
  • __________  Infant baptisms/year.
  • __________  Adult baptisms/year.
  • __________  New visitors annually.


  • __________  Annual budget.
  • __________  Annual giving.
  • __________  Increase/decrease in annual budget from previous year.
  • __________  Increase/decrease in annual giving from previous year.
  • __________  Giving households.
  • __________  Pledging Units.
  • __________  Online giving units.
  • __________  Percentage of giving received online.
  • __________  New givers/year.
  • __________  New pledgers/year.
  • __________  Average giving amount/pledge.
  • __________  Funds given beyond the church walls/year.
  • __________  Percentage of annual budget allocated to staffing.
  • __________  Percentage of annual budget allocated to facilities.
  • __________  Endowment/memorial gifts/year.


  • __________  Average onsite weekly worship.
  • __________  Average online weekly worship.

  • __________  Increase/decrease in average onsite weekly worship/year.
  • __________  Increase/decrease in average online weekly worship/year.
  • __________  Members currently involved in leadership roles/year.
  • __________  Members involved in music ministries/year.
  • __________  Members involved in servant events/year.
  • __________  Members who attended annual meetings this year.


  • __________  Average website visits/month.
  • __________  People who receive e-newsletter.
  • __________  Facebook followers (track similar info for other social media sites).
  • __________  Increase/decrease in number of Facebook followers.
  • __________  Average Facebook posts/month.  

  • __________  Average Facebook comments or replies/month.


  1. What types of ministry do you currently track?
  2. How do the numbers you track inform the decisions or plans you make?
  3. Who tracks your numbers?  With whom are they shared?
  4. What numbers would be helpful for your church to begin tracking?
  5. Which number trigger your desire to ask more questions or capture more stories?
  6. Beside numbers, how else can you to to assess the vitality of your congregation? 
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