Week in and week out, Christian churches across the world dutifully take attendance. This takes great effort from both paid staff and volunteers alike. It could be said, sadly, that we are more consistent in taking attendance than we are at living as Christ followers.
One might think that I am about to take issue with the unnecessary expenditure of effort of taking attendance, but I'm not. My biggest issue is not that we are wasting our time with attendance, it is that we are wasting the effort
by leaving the collected data on the roll sheets or in the church management system. Bottom line is that it is impossible to close the back door of a church unless you create ways to catch people on their way out. Gone is gone. I am convinced that part of good stewardship in a church is to be faithful with the lives entrusted to those in leadership. Please indulge me in the following train of thought.
- Attendance records are just attendance records until they are turned in to useful data.
- Data is just data until it is turned into a useful report.
- Reports are just reports until they are analyzed and turned into a plan.
- A plan is just a plan until it is put into action.
- Actions are just actions until they are managed to change a situation.
- Changed situations are just... wait a minute... this is what we are after!
If we intend to fix the "back door problem" in our churches (and I hear this all the time in churches), we must make sure that we are measuring what is measurable, applying proper context and formulating good plans in order to act strategically.
Now, let me be clear. God causes the change in the situation.
We are merely being good stewards of those people with whom we have been entrusted. That being said, do you want to close the back door?
Then guard it!