2018 by the Numbers

This week is one of the most challenging weeks of the year, as far as church administration goes. Tuesday was Checkout Day, when I bring our end of year reporting numbers to the District. Let me stop here to say thank you to Gerri  Bandemir, church treasurer, and Rhonda Luckett, Office Manager, who are the ones compiling the numbers throughout the year and filling out all of the reports. This is more than moving numbers from here to there; it requires careful attention to make sure each person and dollar recorded goes into the correct category. They both do an amazing job! Here are some of the numbers I noticed when I looked through the reports.

Average worship attendance declined 7%, from 171 to 158. Some of this may be as simple as counting errors or Sundays when we had one service only-- those always impact overall attendance. Where did those thirteen people go? Sure, some Grace decided to worship elsewhere, but they were largely replaced by new people. People may worship less often per month than they used to. It's not unusual in any church today. One effort to turn this around we'll offer in 2019 is a new worship experience on Saturday night-- specifically designed for people who are not here.

Number of "constituents" doubled in 2018-- from 31 to 62. A constituent is a child who has not been baptized, or a youth or adult who attends but has not become a member of the church. So while only a handful of people actually took membership vows in 2018, many more became active churchgoers. By the way, for the second year in a row we purged inactive members from the church rolls. The official number is now 259. These decreases also saved on our 2019 apportionment-- down $4000. By the way, the ratio of worship attendance/membership is usually around 30-40% in most churches. For Grace it's 60%.

The number of people involved in weekly education classes increased by 17%, largely because of small group ministry. We also exploded at Vacation Bible School: 28% more kiddos! Here's where Grace really shines: mission (you probably could have guessed that). In 2018 we sent out five mission teams for various projects. Nearly 5,000 people in the community were impacted by service through our church-- an increase of 6%. And another Grace hallmark, generosity, continued upward: overall income grew 3%. And we finished the year in the black! Hooray!

A couple of other notes, just for information purposes: you know the State is expanding FM 1417. We received an offer to purchase less than 1/10th of an acre for the expansion. After several conversations with members, we made a counter offer. Also, as part of Healthy Church Initiative discussions about future expansion of facilities and ministry, we have informally explored the possibility of purchasing the land on the North side of Canyon Creek Drive. When there is action to be taken we'll let the congregation know.

The church is a living organism, and just like every one and every thing else there are victories to celebrate and opportunities to learn and improve. I'm proud of where Grace went in 2018 and can't wait to see what's next in 2019.

All Grace is Amazing!