Going Deeper into Church Health: Membership

No service attendance is not the best measure of health!

When considering how healthy your congregation is, it can be tempting to focus on how many people are coming. However, while attendance is a measure of health, it’s one you can go mad over while looking at the ups and downs week to week. 

Better health tracking

Trends over time while looking at your membership base are a more accurate and impactful way to track health. GHC is built around monitoring the health of your membership (those who call your church home).

Start by looking at your membership number and ask, is your membership increasing, decreasing or plateauing? You can find this data at the top of your checkup or toolkit dashboard in GHC.

Defining membership

Your numbers on membership will be most useful if you have a clear system for categorising members. We find it helpful to use language for GHC membership categorisation like "those who call your church home".

There are two extremes to avoid in defining membership:

  • If you include everyone in your database as a member then not only will you not be able to track newcomer integration but you'll have a very diffused sense of church. You might look like you have a big church but your health measures will be lower than you might expect because you've probably included people who don't really call your church home
  • If you include only a "holy huddle" you might ace your health measures but your membership number might be much smaller than you'd expect AND you've lost an ability to draw in the fringe who still might call your church home.

As you work this out for your church be prepared to see lower health measures than you might like as you include people who call your church home but have a way to go in their discipleship journey. Let GHC help you know how to reach out to and walk alongside in this way as you seek grow in health for the sake of maturing people in Christ.

We also encourage you to track the membership over time. Report quarterly to your staff and parish council/eldership board on how your membership is changing. This in time will show a deeper measure of the health and growth of your church.

Focusing on Discipleship

For improving your membership, one area of focus might be discipleship groups. In the Q1 2023 Unstuck Church Report, it was noted that "Growing churches are more likely to have small groups and more people connected to those smaller groups”. 

Use our core dashboards or the Group Health Add-ons (available to subscribers) to consider:

  • Who is a member and not yet in a discipleship group? Why not? What are structural, cultural and maturity reasons that are inhibiting that?
  • Which groups are experiencing growth and regular attendance? What differentiates them from other groups?
  • What are 6-month, 12-month and 2-year strategies to increase health in your discipleship groups?

Access member content by logging in here.

or create your account here

Growing Healthier Churches Logo