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The best metric to determine evangelistic health in your church

Unsplash/Nico Smit
Unsplash/Nico Smit

I fear too many churches are sitting still and becoming apathetic with evangelism. Unfortunately, this apathy means fewer people are hearing the Gospel. It’s time to move outward again.

The conversion ratio

It’s helpful to diagnose the degree of the problem in your church. One way of determining evangelistic health is through a metric called conversion ratio. This ratio tells you how many people in your church it takes to win one person for Christ.

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A healthy church will have a conversion ratio of 20:1 or less. The smaller the conversion ratio, the fewer people it takes in your church to reach others. Smaller is better with this metric. For example, a conversion ratio of 1:1 means each person in your church is reaching one person for Christ each year. A conversion ratio of 100:1 means that for every one hundred people in your church, only one person is reached for Christ per year.

Determining your conversion ratio

You can calculate the conversion ratio with a simple formula: average weekly attendance for the year divided by the number of conversions in the same year.

Suppose a church averages 300 in weekly attendance and sees 20 people come to Christ in a year. In that case, their conversion ratio is 15:1. Take a moment and calculate your church’s conversion ratio and compare it to the following conversion health scale.

20:1 or less: Healthy. Your church is sharing the Gospel regularly.

21:1 to 50:1: Somewhat healthy. A core group is sharing the Gospel.

51:1 to 80:1: Somewhat unhealthy. A few people are sharing the Gospel, but not many.

81:1 or more: Unhealthy. Your church is not sharing the Gospel with others.

The ratio helps you understand evangelism effectiveness relative to the size of your church. The metric puts churches of all sizes on the same playing field.

In one study at Church Answers, we found growing churches do not have a significantly better conversion ratio than other churches. Unfortunately, the statistics demonstrate most growing churches are experiencing mainly transfer growth.

In the past, membership was the numerator in the calculation, but too many churches have inflated membership rolls (and some ignore membership altogether). Today, we use average weekly attendance.

Sadly, most churches in North America are unhealthy. The average conversion ratio among churches in the United States is 85:1. Less than 4% of churches meet the criteria for being healthy. There is a dangerous lack of evangelistic activity. It’s time to stir these stagnant waters.

This article is adapted from an excerpt in The Church Revitalization Checklist: A Hopeful and Practical Guide for Leading Your Congregation to a Brighter Tomorrowpublished by Tyndale.

Originally published at Church Answers. 

Sam Rainer is president of Church Answers and pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Church in Florida. 

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