Each quarter I look forward to reviewing The Unstuck Church Report. Four times a year the team at The Unstuck Group use their Vital Signs Assessment tool to "produce a report that monitors trends in churches in the United States and around the world."
Maybe it's because I'm a numbers guy, but I believe you can glean so much from data and trends that can be directly applied in your own church. And, as a former Executive Pastor I also see this data through the lens of desiring nothing more than health and growth in the local church.
So what did the Q2 numbers tell us? Let's dive in.
It's becoming increasingly more important to make giving bigger than an offering moment during a weekend service. Churches across the nation and the world have less people in seats and less people streaming. A huge opportunity for the church is to clearly define and then effectively communicate their vision for bringing Christ to their congregation and community and that that vision is directly supported and made possible by the financial gifts of the members.
One crucial piece is sharing stories of life-change through the pursuit of that vision. A can't-miss opportunity to capture and share those stories is in a small-group setting, likely hosted in someone's home. While we have less bodies to communicate with on a weekend, we have an increase in direct communication in these small groups and thus will be more effective.
These life-change stories can also be shared digitally, further supported by the increase in email opt-ins and church database additions.
Equip the leaders in your church to capture and share stories and see real change in giving.
Typically, 10% of church members make up 90% of the budget. This data doesn't surprise me as the 70/30, 80/20, 90/10 rule applies.
Best practice tells us we should aim for 45-55% for staff in a budget, churches are trending on the high side. We suggest using any resignations to rework roles to eliminate unnecessary staff. Be sure to take advantage of resignations to reduce costs by outsourcing certain departments like Accounting, Admin, HR, Legal and Property Management to lower costs and invest in the staff you truly want and need.
It is encouraging to see churches begin to increase reserves in a time of economic uncertainty. Just don't get carried away as storing excessive reserves becomes wasteful -- it can be the difference between funding your vision or funding your fears. There's a balance. And as churches fund the reserves, remember to spread those funds out between financial institutions because of the $250k FDIC limits at each one. Thought it isn't likely that something would happen, better safe than sorry. After all, we didn't think a scenario like COVID was a possibility either!