Why numbers matter in Kidmin.

Tony Kummer put this on his facebook and it got me thinking.

What kind of attendance numbers do you track in your #kidmin? Just say this post from Henrietta Mears that got me thinking. She said, “Don’t be afraid to count numbers. Numbers stand for people for whom Christ died. Count them!”

I have a love hate relationship with numbers – (Yes I was horrible at math growing up but that’s not what I am talking about) I believe that in order for things to grow you have to evaluate them. You can only evaluate what you mesure so weather you admit it or not you have a system of measurement.

There are the extremes out there. Those people whose worth is connected to the size of their ministry so they count everyone twice. Then there are those out there who react to that guy and don’t count anything and say numbers don’t matter.

They are actually both right and both wrong,for me it’s all about motivation with numbers – We need to know because each kid matters to God, not because my worth is tied numbers. The interesting thing for me is that in the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15 the shepherd left the 99 and went out after the one. How would the shepherd know 1 was missing if he never knew he had 100 sheep?

The amount of kids that come is not everything but it is something. I think the bigger problem in the church at large and definitely in children’s ministry is we are not good at is creating measurable goals for our leaders. As a result of that we default to the easiest measurable goal out there, who came. I think obsessiveness over numbers is a sign of week leadership. If we create a culture that is gospel focused people will come and people will grow.

The problem I have is what should I be measuring? Because what we mesure is what we get. How do I give ownership to my team by giving them specific mesurable goals to help them know that what they are doing is significant?

What do you mesure and why?

10 comments On Why numbers matter in Kidmin.

  • Good stuff Sam. I think it is important to track the numbers. I think numbers shows growth, and in turn growth is a measure of success. It is important to remember that in Acts 2 it was mentioned that the Lord "added to their numbers". God thinks numbers are so important that He named a book in the Bible after them!

    Where we go wrong with numbers is attaching our personal value to them. I believe in most cases, the numbers do not give someone a full picture of who you are and what you are about. Therefore it's important to pay attention to the numbers, but look at a lot of other aspects as well.

    I track our attendance per service. When I add all services together, I remove 1/3 of our numbers off of the top to account for double counts (kids that attend more than 1 service). The numbers are only worth it if they are accurate!

  • Love this Sam. Good reflective questions. I had an semi unrelated question about a comment you made//If we create a culture that is gospel focused people will come and people will grow. Using the 252 curriculum, which I assume you are using, how do you balance being gospel centered with your approach. We also use the curriculum and love it. With the exception of the fact that the writers tend to only emphasis the gospel a couple of time a year.

    Are there any tips that you have found in making the curriculum more gospel centered on a weekly basis?


    • Jeremy,

      Great question. Being Gospel focused is something I have really been thinking a lot about lately. There really isn't any curriculum that is in my opinion Gospel focused. We have used 252 for 5ish years now and like it, but what I plan on doing in the near future is take month long breaks to do more gospel focused lessons I will write myself.

  • I don’t count heads anymore. We are involved in a very small church and counting the numbers in attendance was depressing, more moving out of state than moving in and attending, the nature of our area.

    I look more at growth in terms of content: what children are learning and how they live out and show what they learn. Just last week one boy said something that told me he “gets” it. It’s more about an intellectual growth.

    • Brenna, thanks for your honesty. I think many people share your sentiment. Kids getting it is huge and should be our focus. One of the things I think we need to do in small churches is mesure the things that lead to reaching more people, because our goal is for our kids to get it but also to reach more kids so they can get it as well. I don't believe numbers are an end all but when a church stops growing in numbers it is usually because we are not measuring the right things. Numbers growth is a side effect measuring the right things. IMHO. I firmly believe that healthy things grow. Does that make sense? When our numbers are low I want to know what it is that we are not measuring.

  • Sam I think numbers are important, but not just attendance. In my last church the only thing that really mattered was weekend attendance and offering #'s. While those are important, they can't be the only measurement of growth. Other numbers to measure might be # of parents being dedicated, # of salvations, # of kids in separate discipleship programs (whatever they look like in your church), # of weekday interactions between leaders/families – while these #'s are not necessarily important by themselves, they do reflect the activity happening in the ministry. And, of course, the more intangible spiritual growth measurements must be measured also (again, whatever that may look like in your church). I believe evaluation is one of the more critical leadership responsibilities & #'s has a part to play in it, but it's certainly not everything.

  • Love it, Sam. We use churchteams.com – it's actually a small group reporting software designed for "big" church, but you can set the privacy settings that it can't be searched. With it we allow our leaders to report #'s, but in doing their reports it gets them looking at who was/wasn't in their group that week. And then we encourage them to follow up with those who've been missing for a couple of weeks.

  • I think the reason numbers matter is because they represent souls. So, in that effect, it's not as important whether you have 5 kids or 500 kids there on Sunday morning. But, what is more important is what percentage of the kids that you do have this Sunday morning have established a daily prayer and bible time? What percentage of the kids that you do have on Sunday morning can tell you about a friend they witnessed to this week? Those are the important numbers.

  • We track attendance each week and I keep an overall track as well. It is helpful for a couple of things. One it helps me evaluate who is here and who is not. It helps teachers be aware of that too and follow up on kids who have been missing. It is also helps me see trends that happen due to holidays and seasons throughout the year. This helps me know what I need to do to prepare for each Sunday.

    I don't get too caught up in numbers (others at my church certainly do). I am concerned for those who are here and those who are not and we try to follow up on both.

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