The Secret Pastors Know But Don’t Talk About

Every time I did it I felt unspiritual, greedy, and low. 

Most pastors secretly know they should be looking at numbers, yet we pretend like they aren’t that big of deal.  The reality is, we’re responsible to steward the resources God’s given us to build his Kingdom on earth.

Here’s some relief for you: It’s ok to take a look at what’s happening on the back end of your church.

As a pastor, I’ve always hated talking about, thinking about, and worrying about numbers.  I always thought numbers were a bad thing.  I hardly looked at them and when I did I would always say to myself, “but we’re not going to be that church that’s all about numbers.”

Guess what, we never became that church.  But I did start looking at the numbers.  I started considering the numbers at our church in the same way a good business considers the KPI (Key Performance Indicators) of their company.

Here’s why:


KPI indicates the health of your church.

This is the most important reason to look at the KPI. We can’t judge a man’s heart, but we can judge his actions.  

As pastors, we’re responsible for the spiritual health of our church.

This was a wake up call to me this past year when our church grew 70% but our giving flatlined.  

That means our attendance was WAY up, but our giving hadn’t changed.  That’s a good sign that our growth wasn’t healthy or sustainable.  We had to do something different.

The reality is, I would have never known that our growth was unsustainable if I wasn’t looking at the numbers.  

We had become a “consumer driven” church and we didn’t even know it.  Until we realized what was really going on, we couldn't change for the better.

Numbers give you a good indication of how your church is practicing the spiritual disciplines: giving, accountability, service, etc. 


KPI indicates your potential to impact your community. 

You need resources to meet the needs of the people in your community.  

Our motto has always been, “If God’s going to call us to do something, he’s going to resource us to do it.”  That motto has kept us out of debt for almost 15 years. 

That hasn’t changed. But what we realized is that we were often spending money on things God wasn’t calling us to do and therefore having a difficult time finding the resources to do the things God was actually calling us to do

If you’re not keeping track of the KPI, you’re probably spending more money in areas that aren’t important.  Not only that, but you’re also not aware when resources are lower than they should be.

KPI keeps us on track to know when things are growing and when spending might need to slow down, or ramp up.  

If you’re church is growing, chances are, you’re going to need to spend more.  

Look at the KPI let’s you know if your growth is healthy and sustainable or not. 


KPI indicates where you need to spend more resources.

Understanding your KPI allows you to understand who’s coming to your church.

We often try to be “all things to all people” because, well, Paul said it once. 

The reality is, we can’t be everything to everyone. If we are then we aren’t being very authentic.  

In the USA, there’s a church on every corner, and chances are they all do something better than the other.

Understand who you are, who’s a part of your church, and do that well.  

We don’t try to do everything better than the church down the street.  In fact, we try to encourage people to attend that church if it suits them better, because, well, we’re all on the same team. 

When you take a real look at your KPI, you’ll have a better idea of who you are, who your church is, and where you need to focus your resources. 


Here are some of the numbers you should consider as part of your KPI:

  • Weekly Attendance and monthly averages.

  • Weekly visitors.

  • Annual baptisms.

  • Weekly giving and monthly totals. (Also know where they are giving… online, Sunday offering, etc.)

  • Small Group (life groups, community groups, Sunday school, etc.) involvement.

  • Volunteers.

  • Number of people going on long and short-term mission trips.

  • Monthly spending.

  • Live Stream views.

  • Website visitors (unique visitors).

  • Most popular pages on your website.

Our passion is to help churches and small businesses break barriers, create healthy and sustainable growth, and do incredible things in their communities. If you'd like to see this year can be different for your church, schedule a call today.