While leading a conference a couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of having participant share his frustration with the Annual Church Profile, or for those who have Southern Baptist lingo down (i.e. GCRTF; CP; NAMB; IMB; WMU, etc)… the ACP. I have heard the argument before. Why do we need all those stats? It's not really anyone's business? And of course, the coup d'etat of ACP complaints, "they're just numbers anyway"!
I was surfing through some blogs today and ran across some support for keeping and analyzing church stats from a source I would have least expected… Mark Driscoll! That's right… the pastor of Mars Hill is a stat guy! But he comes by it honestly. Apparently Driscoll is a baseball fan, and in keeping with opening day, he is writing a series of posts about baseball and the church. The second post is about the importance of keeping and analyzing your church's statistics. Read his post in its entirety here.
Driscoll makes a couple of really good comments on his post that frankly, I wish I would have thought of myself. But I thought the most important point he makes is this one: "One of the most common errors of a leadership team that has worked well together for many years is to begin to trust too much in the wisdom of the team. Having a great team is only half of what is needed for making great decisions. The other half of the equation is the right data."
It is the old question, "Do I lead with my gut or my head?" Obviously some of both is involved, but think about it: Do I put the lefty in to face the southpaw on the mound with the wicked curveball, or do I go with the righty that bats 300?
Driscoll's point is made well enough in his post, so I won't belabor it here. But I would encourage you to read some of his analysis, such as a worship service that is 80% full should trigger the start of a new service, etc.