The purpose of counting worship attendance is to help measure the strength, health and effectiveness of a local church. In the making of disciples for the transformation of the world, numbers have value. They are not the only measure, but it is one important metric and one the CTC pays close attention to. It is the basic number we use to qualify our market share in each community. The purpose of the following information is to help provide consistency across all the CTC churches, as well as a consistent measure for the local church to compare themselves to year-by-year. When worship attendance goes down, it is helpful to explore the reasons why, and when it goes up, it is helpful to celebrate.
We ask that, at the very least, local churches (1) remain consistent in what they do every week (2) provide the most honest assessment of the church’s strength, health, and effectiveness as possible, and (3) place these metrics on VitalSigns weekly.
The People Present
Count every single person physically present attending a worship service. This is any New Faith Community, any time of the week the service is held, anything that qualifies as worship (preaching, scripture reading, communion, creeds, worship songs, yes, we all know what worship is and isn’t). This includes counting adults, youth, children and even infants. This includes children in the nursery but not Sunday School. Include ushers, greeters, welcome people, coffee servers, choirs, praise teams – anyone participating in worship or serving in the worship experience. Even count the preacher!
Count those worshiping online; either on a web-based platform or Facebook live. We want to qualify worship by participation, so the key requirement is not just viewing on Facebook or an IP address that shows up on another platform. The key is “Registration” of some sort. The registration can be either official as some churches can do, by registering their participation in the comments section of Facebook, messaging on Facebook, or another way the church might choose to do this. Some churches may have an online worship experience that includes interaction with an online pastor, offering prayer requests, or even giving an offering. Encourage Facebook viewers to register their participation in the worship service they are viewing. This participation can be live or later in the day or week. The key is registering their presence by name or family in a clear way. We believe the act of registering is a key component of participating in the worship experience with the church community.
Count children’s worship, Count youth worship, Count confirmation worship.
If your church has weekly children’s worship, weekly youth worship or an annual Confirmation worship, add this into your total weekend worship. If your Confirmation, youth, and children’s programs do not include worship, do not count.
Count Easter Sunrise services
Count Christmas Eve candlelight services, all of them if you have more than one.
Count Holy Week
Yes, it’s OK if people are counted twice that week, or if a music person is counted in more than one service, remember we are qualifying the health, strength and effectiveness of our church, seeking to do so with consistency within the local church and in comparison to other churches. Add the special services such as Christmas Eve or Holy week to the overall count for the week, meaning add CE and Holy Week into the weekend total. Remember, we are qualifying the health, strength and effectiveness of our church. This is not about numbers even though it is!
Count Nursing home, assisted living, Etc. worship services if they include the elements of worship.
Add this into the following weekend worship numbers.
What if it snows, sleets, ices, floods, hails or a tornado hits the town.
Count, but don’t add into the years average worship attendance. If it ices one weekend, average 51 weeks leaving that one out. We want a clear indication of the health, strength and effectiveness of a Church.
Don’t add 5% to the total to account for people in the bathroom or talking in the hallways.
Don’t count weekly fellowship dinners if they do not include the full worship qualification.
Don’t count Preschool worship.
If your church hosts a weekly preschool for children that the community enrolls their children in and pays for, and it has a worship experience connected with it, do not count as a church worship experience.
Don’t, don’t, don’t count funerals or weddings.