When we make goals for our parishes, we try to make S.M.A.R.T. goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Time-bound. Still many of us struggle to figure out what to measure and how to be methodical about doing so. Or we measure, but the data is never reported. Or it’s reported, but it’s never analyzed.
Today, for our mutual edification, we bring you the results of four years of measuring Sunday attendance from the parish of Prophet Elias in Santa Cruz, California. We asked proistamenos, Fr. Milutin Janjic, and parishioner, Shirley Manis, how they go about keeping and reporting their measurements. See their data and answers below.
Make the Count
1) At what point in the Liturgy do you make the count?
The tally is taken at the candle stand as people enter the church.
2) Who does the count? The Usher-of-the-Day, who is a Parish Council member.
3) Where do they note the count? The tabulation is written on one of the Sunday bulletins.
4) What’s the procedure for inputing the count? After the Liturgy, the Parish Council member writes the number of attendees on the dedicated Ecclesiastical calendar on the church office desk. Father keeps the calendars from previous years in his office, ready for data entry.
5) What tools or software do you use? An OCF student and parishioner took the raw data from the past four years’ calendars and created an Excel spreadsheet. Then another computer-savvy OCF student and parishioner used the spreadsheet data in Google Sheets to create the graphs.
6) Do you keep a count for other services or activities besides Sunday Liturgy? Yes. At our weekly Paraklesis we have 10-15 people who come regularly, sometimes higher. At weekday services (Vespsers, Orthros, Divine Liturgy) we have 6-12 people, again sometimes more. For Saturday Vespers, the number ranges between 5 to 10 people.
Fr. Milutin shared this data with his parishioners, saying the following:
“What I’m sharing today can be seen as a result of implementing some aspects of the Orthodoox missionary experience in the life of our beloved parish. Indisputably, all of this can’t go out of the frame of God’s providence about our community and His indescribable love for all people and their salvation.
The graphics represent the gradual but consistent growth of the attendance at our Sunday Divine Liturgy from 2016 up to today. We still have two and half months of 2019 to have the exact numbers for this year. Nevertheless, we still can see how this crucial evidence of the living parish shows that we are growing in both, the spiritual growth as well as numbers.
Let us all, when we read this message and look at the graphics, give glory to God for everything, for His love for His creation and for all of us. Let us rejoice but also let us continue to do all what is up to us to build ourselves more and more in the life of our parish, into the Body of Christ – His Church.”
A big thank you to Fr. Milutin and the parishioners of Prophet Elias for sharing their data with us.
How do you count? We’d love to hear about it. Please write us if you’re willing to share something similar for the benefit of all.