Say What?

How transparent are you when you report data to your church? Are you giving a realistic and honest interpretation of reality? You might say “Well of course, facts are facts.” Sometimes to be transparent you really need to show how you are calculating your figures, what data sets you are using, and the relationship of the facts. If not, you might end up causing more people to be struck and killed by lightning every time you eat a hamburger. Check out the graph below and see if these two independent facts have any rationale correlation;

Per capita consumption of beef (US)
correlates with
Deaths caused by lightning

I just reported to you “facts”. The work Tyler Vigen does on his site shows all sorts of correlations of facts…facts that while true, are not really connected in a meaningful way. This form of fallacy is known as “Post hoc, ergo propter hoc” (Latin for “after this, therefore, because of this”). The answer to the fallacy is more common phrase “correlation does not imply causation”.

I return to the original question: How transparent are you when you provide reports to your church? It is natural to want to justify or normalize data when we report it. If you have kids, tell me if this sounds familiar:

“Yes, I got a ‘D’ on the assignment, but no one else in the class got an ‘A’ either.”

While both statements are true, there is a lack of transparency. The fact that no one got an “A” did not cause my kiddo to earn a “D”. Here is another example:

“We have had 50 guests this month, we are doing well!” While you may be, that data does not necessarily support that. How could you be transparent? Report the number of “non-guests” monthly, total attendance for both, and compare month-to-month or from the same period the previous year. If your “non-guest” number does not change, that means you may not be very “sticky” (in the good way).

How does this pertain to your facility? Transparency in your data is required if you want to develop the four essential master plans that every church needs.

Ministry Master Plan

You must identify the “who, why, and how” of your ministry master plan. While the church down the road is growing with all its AVL equipment, shorts and t-shirt vibe, you may meet the needs of the strict liturgical folks in the community.  WHO are you?

Financial Master Plan

How do you “fund” your Ministry Master Plan? When considering your financial master plan, you may need to “right-size” what you do to accurately reflect what you are being a steward of. In the parable of the talents, this is important:

15 To one he gave five talents; to another, two; and to another, one—to each according to his own ability…” (Matthew 25:15. HCSB)

A thriving church is not exclusively based on a budget; a thriving church takes what God blesses them with and grows like He intends. Be transparent about your finances; make sure your vision matches what He has planned.

Facility Master Plan

Your facility master plan – transparency in what you need, and what is possible. Sometimes you may need to accept that physical restraints keep you from doing some things.

Sustaining Master Plan

Finally, transparency with your sustaining master plan. Whatever God has entrusted to you, He expects you to take care of it. Remember the third servant in the parable of the talents? Willfully neglecting what you have been entrusted with and expecting it to just work out…not a good thing.

Are you being transparent?

Do you have the necessary four plans?

Are you ready for His blessing?


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