Diocesan Dashboard gives realistic assessment of how well we’re doing

In the last of our series looking at the major debates at Synod we come to consider the Diocesan Dashboard designed to give accurate statistical evidence on how well we’re all doing as we pursue the growth agenda.

Mike Eastwood, Diocesan Secretary, presented the fourth set of figures which gave an over view of those areas which affect the health and growth of church most.  The figures are produced as part of our desire to get a good, clear picture of how our churches are doing and growing. They offer a strong basis for those discussions about our strengths and weaknesses. They give us an idea of what we need to do if we are to remain a strong, growing diocese.

You can read the figures yourself in the PowerPoint that Mike used to support his presentation but the crucial areas of Parish Share, Giving, Legacies, Reserves, Fee income and attendance figures cover the various facets that show whether our churches are healthy or not.

There were some critical issues emerging from the Dashboard. Chief amongst these is our first fall in regular giving since 2010. The giving levels represent a key challenge for the church as regular giving represents the lifeblood of the church. The fall in giving reflects the cultural changes in attitudes to giving and highlight the need to tackle the issue we call ageing money. We cannot rely on the sustained giving of the older generation – we must find new ways to encourage giving. And as Mike said the challenge is not massive. If every regular giver in our diocese increased their giving by £2 a week - the price of a coffee or pint of beer – then we would raise an extra £2m. It is this small sacrifice that will go a great way to support our mission and ministry.

Our other areas our giving adds to the financial mix. So the fact we are beginning to realise potential in legacy giving is encouraging. We need to continue that push and to be clear about what we will be doing with our legacy income. We should be encouraged by the increase in fee income – from weddings, funerals and baptisms – this shows a great connection with the wider community both in mission and financial potential. But it also highlights the importance of our Archdeacons’ drive to reclaim bereavement ministry.

It may seem vulgar but getting the money is crucial. If we don’t have the basic financial resource then we will not be able to resource mission and ministry into the future. Key to this is a strong performance on Parish Share. We rely on Parish Share to support our mission and ministry and be able to offer a presence in every community, mutually supporting each other in that aim. Our 2013 Parish Share performance was very good; it has been OK so far in 2014 but as David Greensmith outlined in his budget report this is one of the biggest financial issues we face. It’s the biggest issue any diocese faces. We must not waver from the need to support and resource our ministry objectives.

All this should underpin our primary objective which is to grow. We have fallen back in our objective to grow our churches but Mike reiterated that this has to be an overriding priority and we must not take our foot off the accelerator. And all indications are that with Bishop Paul in place this priority remains.

Synod welcomed the dashboard in the spirit it was offered – as a useful tool to help form a realistic appraisal as to where our churches are, the challenges we face and what we need to meet those challenges. This is enables more honest, challenging conversations about the true health of our churches and helps us face the future mission challenge with realism and determination.

News & Events

About the September Synod

Parish Share was the main debate at Synod in an agenda which included details of the Diocese of Liverpool budget and a presentation on statistics.

You can read our report on Pairsh Share here

And the report on budgets

Download the charts

Vital statistics for churches

We are committed to providing reliable information to help supprt good decision making. Our main sources of statistics we offer parishes are through the Finance and Attendance Dashboards. We produce these on an annual basis to give a realistic appraisal of the health of a parish. 
We encourage every PCC to take this information seriously and discuss what action they need to take in response to the information they have been provided.
However, while we produce the information is an easy to read, graphical form it is only as good as the information we receive from parishes. We rely on our parish officers to provide high quality, up to date information through the quarterly statistical returns and using the statistics for mission forms.