The Numbers Sometimes Lie - Radiant

The Radiant Blog

The Numbers Sometimes Lie

Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg

Although I didn't have designs on this, and the inspiration for todays and yesterdays posts came from entirely disparate sources, this post is actually closely tied with the thoughts I shared yesterday.

Back in October of last year, Christian Computing Magazine published an interesting article that contained statistics indicating that the most used portion of church websites is the “I'm New” section - pages related to people attending for the first time, those who are looking for service times or locations, those looking for other information about the church and its beliefs and doctrine, or those who have no knowledge of Jesus Christ.

I think a lot of people would read the statistics supporting that article and even if it's only in the back of their minds, presume that they indicate that churches are doing a great job at outreach on the web. However, just like website hits aren't a measure of a sites success, but rather quality of those hits are, this statistic requires qualification.

The truth of the matter is that “more than 80% of the current growth registered by Protestant churches is biological or transfer growth – very little of the growth comes from penetrating the ranks of the unchurched.” (George Barna, Grow Your Church from the Outside In)

That's a critically important piece of information to consider because it makes you ask the question, 'Are the “I'm New” sections of our sites truly representative of us doing a great job of serving those outside of our church communities, or are they just examples of us serving a modern desire to jump from church community to church community?'

If it's the latter then these stats, although valuable, become more of an argument to change or adjust the strategy than they are a statement of web usability success.