Transcript of Hill$ong lead pastor Joel A’Bell from video…
This guy predicted our attendance based on our follow-ups, and he was out by 80 people.
31,000 people, he was out by 80, and he predicted it off the systems we’ve created of following people up. That’s what he did.
We’re in the middle of trying to predict our future attendance, not because we can guess because we know the time of the year, but based on the work that people are doing behind the scenes.
So here is something that he put together following … this is so we can go through this and make sense of it.
This is a challenge. This is what I presented to our staff at our staff retreat.
As of May 2010, the average weekly giving – I’m, we’re being quite vulnerable with you guys today – as of May 2010, average weekly giving in the last 12 months had been maintaining its course at approximately $62 per person, per month. OK?
Fast forward 9 months, as of February 2011, we had been contacting an average of 18% of all new people and new Christians in the week following their first time at Hillsong Church. Only 18%. This is when we started to wrestle in these things.
Now look forward again another eleven months, and in January 2012 now, the average weekend attendance growth over the previous 12 months was only 2.5%. Allright?
Now watch what happens. In September 2010 – we’re going back to 2010, we’ve got to keep these days in mind – 2010, ’11 and ’12. Let’s go back to 2010, in September, tithes and offerings per person, per month hits an eight-month high of $64.80 per person, per month. And it begins to rise.
Let’s again go back and check on follow-ups nine months later after that – so now we’re back in 2011 – and the percentage of new people contacted in their first weeks reaches a 21-month high of now 18.7%. And it begins to rise.
Let’s see now how the attendance is doing eleven months after this in 2012.
As of June 2012, last year, growth in weekend attendance average marches to a 21 month high of 6.6%. Don’t forget our goal is 7, right, that’s what we’re trying to grow by, and it begins to rise.
This is a good thing. In the nine months following October 2010, the average tithes and offerings grew every single month to a high of $81.60 per person, per month, a growth of 24% in tithes and offerings per person.
When you look at that, afterwards, after tithes and offerings went up, in the nine months following that 2011 July, the percentage of new people we contacted for the first time grew every single month to a high of 25%.
And you look at the nine months after that in 2012, the average attendance grew every single month to a high in March of nearly 29,000 people – a growth of almost 16%.
Watch what happens. This is what it looks like. These are the graphs that we’re talking about.
The top blue line is tithes and offerings. The next one down is our follow-ups. The bottom one, attendance.
So if you look at the line… there’s a black line that goes up, OK? That’s … it’s kind of rising up and the arrow across is the nine months. And if you look at the sliding scale, up again, that’s nine months later, and you go across again – eleven months later .. and then the slide up.
For us, what we’ve discovered is that when people start giving, this is what a convinced attender of a church looks like. Someone who doesn’t just attend, but starts to lift their heart.
We already know as pastors that attendance comes before giving. And we also know that giving leaves before attendance.
When someone’s on their way out of the church, what stops first is their giving.
So if you have a thousand people in church and you’re fairly static and there’s not a whole lot of new people coming in to church, your offerings start going down .. you can pretty much expect there’s a walkout’s about to happen. The hearts have already left. The feet are next.
We know those kind of things, most pastors know those kinds of things.
Here’s what we’ve been able to correlate.
That the tithes and offerings is an indication of a person’s heart towards the ministry.
Jesus said, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be.”
So once a person puts their treasure, tithes, into the local church, their heart is joining.
Once their heart joins, their hand is next.
That means that people’s involvement goes up. That means people start saying, ‘what can I now do, what can I do next?’
‘I’ve already given, I’m tithing, I’m becoming a convinced member of your church, I’m looking for somewhere else to get involved’. And the area that lots of people get involved is they start loving people in church, start being hospitable to people in church, start serving people in church, and that follow-up process – whether you have an actual assimilation process or not – if your church is healthy and people’s hearts are connected, they look after one another. They love each other.
A system just helps people do what they do naturally. A church that doesn’t engage with their heart is not going to love each other. You won’t find it very hospitable if people don’t give. If people give, they trust. Their heart’s there. If their heart’s there they start loving one another.
All we’ve done is to write a system that helps manage what people already want to do willingly.
So heart goes up, which is an indicator of tithes and offerings. Then their hand goes up and says, ‘how can I serve?’ Which automatically involves assimilation of new people and your attendance lifts.”