How Giving Data Strengthens Your Discipleship Path

by | July 11, 2018

The key to sustainable ministry funding lies right at the heart of the mission of the church: helping persons become fully devoted followers of Christ.  When people take seriously their discipleship journey certain behaviors begin to change such as frequency in worship, serving on ministry teams, daily prayer, and giving of their financial resources. Giving and generosity are clear and measurable indicators of discipleship. It is no surprise that churches with an effective discipleship path tend to have substantially higher levels of ministry funding.

So, how do we strengthen our discipleship path? And how can giving data help us?

For years, churches have collected the data needed to measure the effectiveness of their discipleship paths. But getting that data into an actionable format from their Church Management Software (ChMS) is often a nightmare.

A couple of years ago, a tool was created to address this problem.  MortarStone developed a web-based tool that works with ChMS systems to organize the mountains of data that churches have stored in their databases.  MortarStone’s tools enable leaders of discipleship programs, missions teams, stewardship committees, and pastoral care to easily and directly access the information they need while still protecting sensitive donor information.

With a growing emphasis on measuring impact, churches are realizing it’s not enough to simply count activities and participants as the primary measures of a successful discipleship program. Individual generosity is, of course, a vital indicator of spiritual growth and a key element on the discipleship path.

Church leaders want to know if lasting transformation is taking place.

With MortarStone, churches can measure growth in individual generosity and connect it to the ministry activity that precipitated that change.  When churches understand what is working and what is not, they can reallocate resources to programs and ministries that are driving life change.

Here is a common example of using data to connect specific ministries with positive changes in key discipleship indicators.  An Executive Pastor compared the giving patterns of people who participated in small groups versus nonparticipants. The Executive Pastor discovered small group participants gave, on average, $2,133 more per year.  Based on the apparent impact of the small group ministry on the discipleship path, the church chose to invest $75,000 in new staffing to support small group ministries. Assuming a similar result for future small group participants, the church reasoned only 35 additional households were needed to cover the investment in staffing.

But this example is just the tip of the iceberg.

Church data can be used to track the impact of ministries such as Financial Peace University, serving ministries, and others. Want to know the impact of a recent mission trip? Curious about the effectiveness of your new member class or stewardship series? Want to know the differences in giving between your campus locations or worship services? With MortarStone giving data analysis, churches can effectively organize information and measure impact to make data-driven decisions regarding future ministry investments.

This technology exists to take the guesswork out of measuring the effectiveness of your discipleship path. By using increases in household giving as evidence of the transformative work of the Holy Spirit, churches can now make better decisions regarding programming and resource allocation.

As people deepen their walk with Christ through worship, spiritual growth, and service, the harvest of your generosity plan grows exponentially because you are cultivating in richer spiritual soil.

Joe Park is Horizons’ Managing Partner. Horizons is a national leader in guiding churches to increased funding, mission fulfillment, and transformation. 

Stewardship Discovery is our comprehensive diagnostic process used to assess giving practices in the development and implementation of plans to increase personal giving in churches. If you would like to learn more about developing a generosity plan for your church or using data to improve discipleship, please contact me at jpark@horizons.net or visit horizons.net.

This article originally appeared in Church Executive Best Practices Forum on Fundraising and Generosity.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you Joe for the helpful article on church analytics. It comes at a timely stage for FUMC as we are design our discipleship pathway. Keep up the encouraging work.
    Blessings!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Everything you need to inspire generosity.

RECENT Posts

Are You Ready for a Capital Campaign?

How do you know if you are ready to launch a capital campaign?  

 

Kristine Miller, CFRE, Horizons’ Senior Partner, discusses the five important steps you should take prior to launching a capital campaign to ensure successful results.

 

In this latest video from Horizons’ Giving Intelligence Series, Kristine discusses five actions to take prior to launching a campaign for any project such as building, restoration, debt, missions, endowment, or any other capital needs. Has your church leadership wondered whether or not you’re ready to go? If so, this brief video will provide the insights and answers you are looking for.

 

If you missed other installments of the Giving Intelligence Series, click the titles below. Also, sign up for Giving365 in order to access these and other helpful videos as well as more free stewardship resources including insightful eBooks!

Three Reasons Americans Choose to Give

The Power of Thanks: Four Practical Ministry Funding Impact Strategies

Who Should Have Access to the Giving Records

Three Pockets of Giving

 

To access more of Horizons’ free stewardship resources, click the Giving365 logo below.
Giving365 - Blog - Horizons - church stewardship resource

A Story of Faith and Transformation You Need to Know

In 2016, St. Andrew, Plano, Texas, faced a significant challenge. Located in Collin County, Texas, one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, St. Andrew was experiencing growth, especially in their contemporary worship service. As a result, several other areas including children and youth, missions, hospitality, and parking were all being stretched beyond capacity to accommodate growth.

St. Andrew’s Growth Paralleled a Focus on Generosity in Their Core Church Language

However, St. Andrew’s leaders had been preparing for growth through the development of their 30-year master expansion plan. The plan focused on four aspects of church life: worship, connect, serve, and give. As growing pains became more intense, church leaders realized it was time to launch a capital campaign. The funds raised would relieve the pressure by beginning to expand critical ministry areas according to the master plan.

Four key aspects of church life at St. Andrew: Worship, Connect, Serve, and Give

 

The Church’s Capital Campaign Facilitated its Larger Generosity Strategy

St. Andrew’s Senior Pastor, Robert Hasley, explained, “We hired Horizons to guide us in determining what to include in the first phase of our capital campaign. Through conversations with our ministry and financial leaders, our committed core of members, and ultimately, the entire congregation, we embarked on an ambitious plan. The result is a worship space that switches from a traditional to a contemporary style with almost the touch of a button.

We now have a worship space that switches from a traditional to a contemporary style with almost the touch of a button.

-Senior Pastor Robert Hasley

This change has enabled us to reset quickly while accommodating both traditional and contemporary worship styles. We also created new and improved areas for students,  children, hospitality, and parking. One of the more significant changes was the addition of a dedicated missions wing for The Storehouse of Collin County–an agency birthed in our church that provides services for Collin County residents in need.”

A Successful Capital Campaign Paid Additional Dividends

In the end, St. Andrew exceeded giving expectations in the capital campaign and moved forward with their plans. In addition, the positivity emerging from the capital campaign created a vibrancy and energy that has impacted ministry in all areas. Rev. Hasley says, “Like our namesake, Andrew the Apostle, we’re a community that loves to invite others to Jesus. As we live out our calling to worship, connect, serve and give, we’re witnessing God move through our community in remarkable ways.”

St. Andrew exceeded giving expectations and moved forward with their expansion plans.

St. Andrew’s journey is far from over. God continues to call the congregation to live out their mission, “Calling the “Christian-ish” to become passionate servants of Christ.”

For more information on the ministry at St. Andrew, Plano, Texas, click here.

To learn more about partnering with Horizons to move your congregation to the next level of generosity, click here.

The Three Pockets of Giving

Are you inviting your members to contribute from all three pockets of giving?

Many churches focus on the annual pocket and neglect to consider the other two–capital and estate pockets. In this next video in the Giving Intelligence Series, learn about the three pockets of giving and why you should be including all three in your year-round generosity program.

 

 

Did you miss the first three installments of the Giving Intelligence Series?  Click the titles below to quickly access them or sign up for Giving365 and access these videos along with many other free stewardship resources.

Three Reasons Americans Choose to Give

The Power of Thanks: Four Practical Ministry Funding Impact Strategies

Who Should Have Access to the Giving Records

 

To access more of Horizons’ free stewardship resources, click the Giving365 logo below.
Giving365 - Blog - Horizons - church stewardship resource

OUR NETWORK

Follow Us

PO Box 627
Cabot, Arkansas 72023

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This