Statistics for Mission 2015:
It's all about communication by Ken Eames
This time last year, we had finally won our fight against the uncooperative spreadsheets and had just sent the first draft of the 2014 attendance figures to dioceses. Final figures and publication were still weeks away. This year, thanks to speedier data entry by thousands of people in churches all over the country, we were able to publish Statistics for Mission before the end of October. And we even had time to speak to (almost) every diocese beforehand and to read (almost) every comment written on the forms. Prompt sharing of data is vital if the information is going to be best used to help inform the decisions taken by churches. Next year we’ll be even earlier!
That’s the good bit. Less encouraging are the figures themselves, which continue to show a steady fall in attendance. Obviously numbers aren’t everything, but it’s a bit depressing to see the same trend year on year since the 1960s. It’s not all doom and gloom; some parishes are thriving and doing wonderful things, so the next step is to help our colleagues to share what works (and what doesn’t). Statistics, it turns out, is all about communication.
Seasonal prediction: with Christmas Day on a Sunday this year and mild weather forecast, we expect an especially high turnout at Christmas services. Maybe order another crate of mince pies.
Click here to view the 2015 Statistics for Mission report.