What Percentage of Your Adults Are Actually Connected?

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Yesterday I answered a very frequently asked question…after I pointed out that it is almost always the wrong question.  Today, I begin sorting through what I think is a much better, much more important question (How do we connect the largest number of people?).

But first…I want to set up the question by guiding you around to what I think is a critically important perspective.  Alan Kay is well known for saying, “Perspective is worth 80 IQ points.”  The perspective I want to share with you is worth much more than that.  Here’s what I mean:

Blinders On, Old-School Perspective

Most churches that are touting percentage connection statistics are calculating based on weekend adult worship attendance.  Their calculation works like this:

  • We’re averaging 450 adults in our weekend worship services
  • We have 290 adults in 26 small groups
  • 290 / 450 x 100 = 64% connected

Not bad…or is it?

Blinders Off / 20-20 Vision Perspective

Let’s say that they’re averaging 450 adults in their weekend worship services…but they had 615 adults at their Easter services.  Further, let’s say that 19 of the 26 groups are groups that were launched with 40 Days of Purpose four years ago.

What do you think now?

There are a number of factors that determine how you should think about percentage connection:

  1. You should be using Easter (or Christmas Eve) services as your benchmark.  This more accurately reflects the total number of adults who consider your church to be their church.  Why?  Unless your church is a very unique congregation, it’s a different group every week!  While some percentage of adults are there every time the doors open, they are the exception, not the rule. Some percentage come 2 to 3 times a month, another group comes once a month, and another group comes 2 or 3 times a year (Easter, Christmas Eve, Mother’s Day, etc.).
  2. Be aware that the most connected members of your congregation (see this article for more) are the least likely to have significant ties in the community.  Conversely, your least connected attendees (the very folks you are trying to connect) have the most significant ties in the community.  Note: While there are exceptions to this rule and I’m painting with a very broad brush, this is a very important understanding.
  3. If you want to connect people no one else is connecting you’re going to have to do things no one else is doing.  Read…the tactics you’ve been using will not connect the still unconnected people in the crowd and they certainly will not connect the widening 60% that will not be reached by the attractional model.

What do you think?  Want to argue?  You can click here to jump into the conversation.

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  1. Jim on June 30, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Ok Mark, so what would be a fare percentage to bump up your weekl;y avg to get close to the number that a church should be trying to connect?  Should you shoot for 100% of the Easter attendance, using your rationale that the Easter crowd is the most connected in the community?  or should you try to shoot for 20% of the Easter crowd?  In other words, using your avg attendance of a weekly service at 450 and your Easter crowd at 615, shall I shoot for a goal of 20% of the Easter crowd increase (165 people increase x 20% = 31 people) and add that to the avg of 450 to equal 481 as the new avg to look at when I want to figure how many people are connected?  If my math is right, that’s 290 / 481 = 60% of the Sunday morning attendance.  or should I go with 50% of the Easter crowd which would be 82.5 people, which would come out to be 55% (290/532).  This all seems a little laborious, which is why, it seems, y0u would prefer to use 100% of the Easter attendance, which in your example would be 47% (290/615).  This of course would be a discouraging number, and although I see your point, it’s exactly why I would not choose to use your method. 
    Love you anyway………….

  2. Eric Henley on September 1, 2011 at 1:12 am


    Discouraging yes, but perhaps more accurate for the stated goal, reaching the 60%. This would crush my numbers and that’s okay. It reality and fuel for the fire. It helps us look at things differently and perhaps find solutions to problems that we may not have because we weren’t looking there before.

    The truth shall set you free. 🙂

    I’m processing through what mark is saying and like it. It’s painful but helps clarify where you are if your goals are  really to reach all for Christ. It’s different if you are just trying to connect the already connected regular attender to smaller community.

  3. Anonymous on September 1, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Good response, Eric. You’re not settling for the right answers to the wrong questions. Love it!