Are you carrying the burden of decision making for your church?

Are you carrying the burden of decision making for your church?

Church Leader,

Pastors and CEOs have at least one thing in common. A key part of their job is making critical decisions. As a pastor, you’re expected to decide on key matters ranging from finances to new projects and even choosing a successor.

That’s a lot of pressure.

This is exactly why more and more pastors are increasingly relying on data to make better decisions. Data gives you complete insight into the variables involved in the decision you’re about to make and sets you up for success.

Here are 3 simple steps you can follow toward better data-driven decision making:

1. Review a data dashboard weekly with your leadership team
As church leaders, we should desire to be data-informed and Spirit-led. Most of us are making decisions on a weekly, if not daily basis. Determine what are the critical metrics in your ministry area, measure, and review them frequently.  Measuring areas of engagement like serving, small groups, attendance, and giving are great places to start. If you are reviewing these weekly together as a leadership team, you will be more prepared and equipped to make the decisions that come your way each week. The more we know about our people, the better we can match them to the next step God has for them.

2. Utilize data visualization
Make data visual. There are a few gifted people who can look at a spreadsheet or a set of numbers and see the story the data is telling us. The rest of us need to see a picture. When data is presented visually, it is easier to digest and find patterns. We need data to be actionable not just interesting. I encourage you to check out Life.Church’s ChurchMetrics (it’s free) as a starting point to track and visualize your data.  

By using data visualization one church was able to share with their congregation (through bar graphs) the drastic growth in their online viewership and engagement in one year. Their on campus attendance grew by a few hundred but their online viewership grew by nearly 5000 year over year. This visual depiction of the data was a key component to a successful roll out of a new vision with a digital component.

3. Create a culture of data use
It is important to cultivate a culture that embraces data-informed decision making. Creating a data-driven culture is easier than you might think. As leaders, you can lead by example, making effective data-informed decisions and allowing your staff to see this. Once your teams can see the impact that maximizing your systems and data can have on your overall mission and vision, you will begin to have a self-enforcing culture. The 'loud equals large' mentality begins to crumble, and decisions begin to be based more on facts than just on feelings.


Denise McCleese

Director of Engagement Initiatives

Leadership Network, 1328 N Lake Park Blvd, Carolina Beach, NC 28428, United States

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