Rethinking ASA

Tom Ehrich’s Religion News Service article on Average Sunday Attendance (ASA) as “a meaningless metric” is picked up by The Washington Post’s On Faith:

A much better quantitative measure would get at “touches,” that is, how many lives are being touched by contact with the faith community in its various Sunday, weekday, off-site and online ministries and then, for a qualitative measure, asking how those lives are being transformed.

Ehrich makes the connection between a gauge like ASA, and the use of numbers in politics and businesses like the unemployment rate and the Dow Jones Average, saying that “simple metrics make good weapons, whereas complex metrics that actually say something require subtlety and in-depth analysis.” Ehrich isn’t simply looking to make churches look better (or worse) with a change from ASA, but rather wants the numbers to point towards deciphering the real health and wellness of communities.


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