How Pastors Are Using Data to Gain Discernment and Deepen Their Ministries

Targeted advertisements, whether it’s the world’s softest sweatshirt on Facebook or the perfect apartment pushed on Google, find their way to you on purpose. These ads use your data and connect you with relevant offers—the better the data and process, the better-suited you are for a product or service.

These ads deliver Christmas gifts, date night ideas, and new appliances. They can also radically change the future of church ministry.

If you knew that your congregation was full of young families with lower-than-average incomes, you’d be less likely to plan retreat weekends with high price tags.

If you understood that the majority of mothers in your church worked outside of the home, you’d think twice before offering your only women’s Bible study on Thursday mornings.

If you learned that your church attracted a large single-young-professional population, you might cancel your annual parenting sermon series.

Demographic data isn’t everything, and the danger of stereotyping and over-generalizing is valid. But, just as Solomon charges those who desire to be good stewards to “be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds,” (Prov 27:23), pastors are called to know the conditions of their congregations. Knowledge of individual congregants and the ability to identify common challenges and shared griefs, leads to efficient, effective ministry that changes lives. Knowing people helps us serve them better.

For the overtaxed and under-resourced church leader struggling to know the intimate needs of congregants and visitors during a pandemic era, understanding the collective and individual conditions of congregants may sound like an overwhelming task. But, there are several accessible tools that can help you better understand your congregation and your community. These resources won’t tell you everything you need to know about your people: only conversation and time spent in trusting, healthy relationships can do that. But they can serve as avenues for walking toward deeper interactions and intentionality, resulting in more vibrant relationships.

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Source: Christianity Today