Quality Control

by Joel Comiskey, Winter 2022

My goal each day is to sleep 7 hours, walk 14,000 steps, and eat only healthy foods. I usually come close to fulfilling these goals. How? I daily track my progress (check out my sample chart). Keeping an exact accounting of how I’m doing in sleep, steps, and eating helps me become more effective.

If we’re going to have a healthy cell system, we must maintain statistical control—for the health of our groups! Whether your groups are meeting face-to-face or on Zoom, it’s essential that the pastoral team knows the statistics of each group to pray, mend the nets, do a better job coaching, and make midcourse corrections. Sending in the weekly statistical reports also helps the cell leader become more accountable. 

A lot of people cringe when they hear about statistical control. The phrase “numbers game” might come to mind. But we need to understand that receiving weekly statistics is a health issue. Without weekly reporting, the danger is to have ghost groups and other types of group sicknesses without even knowing about it.

Remember that cell groups are out of sight and can easily be out of mind. When everyone gathers for the Sunday celebration services, pastors and leaders can see firsthand the problems with the worship, ushers, sound system, and other problems. Because these problems are evident, they usually receive immediate attention. Cells, on the other hand, meet during the week and can be overlooked without statistical control. 

For this reason, I encourage the pastoral team (whether lay-led or fulltime) to start the pastoral meeting by looking at the weekly cell statistics and then talking and praying over each cell or cell network.  

I counsel pastors to keep the statistics simple. That is, don’t ask the leaders to fill out loads and loads of information. I’m always pleased, for example, when I talk to customer service at Amazon and then receive a simple evaluation from Amazon that includes two questions: 1. Were your needs met? 2. Rate the customer service. In the same way, a simple cell report should include:  1. How many people were present. 2. Prayer requests.  And because we live in the internet/cell phone age, it can be simple to send in those reports electronically. 

I have a confession to make. At my own church in Los Angeles, we need to improve our statistical control.  We hired someone to make us a beautiful, simple WordPress cell software system in 2020, and it works great. The problem? Over time, many of our leaders stopped sending in their reports! As a pastoral team, one of our principal goals for 2022 is to reclaim the high ground and make sure each cell sends in their statistical report each week. We also plan on regularly reviewing these statistics as a pastoral team.

How are you doing with your statistical reporting?