Church Stats: Advanced Analytics

The baseball playoffs are approaching and teams are drilling into their advanced analytics to scout the strengths and weaknesses of potential opponents.

In honor of this great time of year, I bring you “Church Stats: Advanced Analytics” (developed through a fabulous team somewhere on Facebook, but I can’t find the thread—how’s that for giving credit).

Stat Categories

As a review, there are three major categories we track with our sophisticated stats system:

  1. Service Time: This is a measure of the length of service.
  2. Preaching: This measures the quality of the preaching.
  3. Worship (or “Musical Worship” for those who would remind us that all of life before God is worship). This measures the exuberance of the worship and how it is led.

Service Time:

Service Time stats are pretty straightforward.

  • LOSS: This is the “Length of Sermon and Songs” stat recording how much time is LOSS(T) each Sunday.
  • SOT: “Starts on Time” average. You can judge the relative age of the congregation by this stat (there is a High/High or Low/Low correlation, the congregation is high in age if the average “Start on Time” is high, and the reverse).
  • FOT: “Finishes on Time” average. You can judge how committed to the NFL a church is by looking at this time.

Preaching Quality:

  • SAL: “Sermon Average Length”
  • VEPS: “Verses Per Sermon”

The previous well established stats help you know if a church is liberal or conservative. A low SAL and VEPS mean you are liberal and a high SAL and VEPS means conservative (although, some of our younger preachers are turning this stat on its head. So we started developing more advances stats).

  • PAR: “Preacher Above Replacement” basically calculates how many people join or leave a church because of the preacher (regardless of SAL or VEPS).
  • EX-EIS Ratio: This is the “Exegesis vs. Eisegesis Ratio.” It compares—in relation to how many verses are expounded—whether the preacher is preaching the “word of God” or mere human tradition.
  • SWAT: “Sermons with any Tears” (developed especially for David Fitch)
  • APS: “Amens Per Sermon” (applicable only for non-white congregations)

(Musical) Worship

Here are the more standard metrics for distinguishing between a traditional and contemporary church.

  • VPHY (pronounced Viffy): “Verses Per Hymn”. This stats allow you to know whether a church is singing all 7 verses of “All Creatures of Our God and King” or not.
  • HI(cu)PTS: “Hymns Included Per Total Songs”. If this is above .500 then you are definitely in a traditional church. Usually you are looking for a .10 (or 1 hymn for every 10 songs, which included having contemporarized/rewritten a hymn). But watch out for “hipster” or “retro” church which are not traditional but could have almost .450 HI(cu)PTS.

Now this is where we have gotten very experiment, but we think there is much fruit to be gleaned if these stats are applied properly, especially for the more charismatically inclined.

  • SLEAPS: “Song Leader Emotive Average Per Song”. This includes pre- and post-song statements, in song encouragements, and all inarticulate verbalizations (whether in “tongues” or not).
  • HaLELU: “Hands Lifted or Elevated & Loudness Unit”. This measures the congregational response to the musical worship (because it is assumed everyone on stage is already lifting hands and being loud).

In Development

  • TOMS: “Tatoos On Main Stage”
  • WIMS: “Women in Ministry Status”, not to be confused with just WOS, or “Women on Stage”.

Please add your own below. We would love to build out our analytic approach to church growth.



(This post it is part of my “
20 for 20” post where I write for twenty minutes a day for twenty days.  So these are quick thoughts as I push out my ideas and practice writing.  See my explanation here.)

5 Replies to “Church Stats: Advanced Analytics”

  1. Worship Category:

    SWEAT: Songs With Energy AND Theology. A high SWEAT score means your songs are both upbeat and theologically sound.

Leave a Reply