According to Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman for Google, humans create in two days the same amount of data it took them to create between the dawn of civilization and 2003 (Anderson, 2015). Information of this volume is powerful for organizational success and equips leaders with the ability to make more accurate decisions about strategy. Organizations who gather and analyze information discover hidden insight. This remains true even for the church. The church is not just any organization, though, it is the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:25-27) and God’s light to the world (Mt. 5:14). For this reason, many church leaders have dismissed analytics for fear of violating the sacred relationship between God and his church, while other church leaders have seemingly banished the Spirit of God from their sanctuaries and replaced him with analytics. There must be a balance found to provide a deeper faith life for the people of faith communities (Gutzler, 2014).
Ministry leaders may consider the high calling of data analysis to help God’s people come to a greater understanding of His forgiveness, grace, and love (Gutzler, 2014). Ministry leaders are constantly looking to move individuals from unchurched to a personal relationships with Jesus, to then be leaders (Gutzler, 2014), but they need ways to narrow the target and hit with greater accuracy. This is done through data analysis such as family demographics, age participation in activities and events, historical trends, financial giving, and other points of information. This helps leaders craft spirit-led sermons to specific groups, or develop events for ages needed for a healthy faith community (Gutzler, 2014). Interaction with one another reveals something about a given faith community (Chaves & Eagle, 2015).
What will help church leaders embrace the use of analytics?
Anderson, K. (2015, July 15). Big Data. Retrieved from https://www.probe.org/big-data/
Chaves, M., & Eagle, A. (2015). Religious Congregations in 21st Century America: National Congregations Study. Duke University. Retrieved from http://www.soc.duke.edu/natcong/Docs/NCSIII_report_final.pdf
Gutzler, M. D. (2014). Big data and the 21st century church. Dialog, 53(1), 23–29.