Q&A: The 5:100 ratio – A powerful evangelism measurement tool

kerrick_bioThis is Kerrick Thomas – and for the last 12 years I’ve served alongside of Nelson Searcy as Executive Pastor of The Journey Church.  I’m guest blogging today and wanted to share a question I received from a Ministry Director from Dover, Ohio.

Q: “I follow you quite a bit. I’ve read Activate and Fusion. Both great books! Thanks for all the information you have shared.

I have a quick question related to your 5:100 ratio with new people to congregation size. Is that 5 individuals or 5 family units? I’m trying to push our church to identify a number related to how many new people we should expect per week. We are a church of 4,000.”

A: It’s exciting to hear how your church is growing and reaching people! You’re correct there is an important ratio that measures the evangelical temperature of your church. This ratio is 5:100. The goal is to have at least 5 first time guests for every 100 regular attenders you have. At The Journey Church we measure it week to week off of the Sunday service attendance numbers compared to the number of first time guests that week.

Who to measure

There are some different ways to measure it – as long as you are consistent.

  • You can measure just adults.  How many individual adult first time guests did we have compared to individual adults in services that week?
  • Or you could measure including kids.  How many individual first time guests (including kids) did you have to the total attendance that weekend (kids and adults)?
  • You measure the first time guests in individuals and not households just because you are measuring your overall attendance by individuals and not by households.

You are looking for at least 5% of overall attendance being there for the first time.

The importance of this measurement

The reason this measurement is so important is because it is an indication of the evangelistic temperature of the church and whether you are outward focused or are becoming inward focused.  We like keeping this measurement in addition to total first time guests, new believers and baptisms.  It’s also an initial indicator.  You see this number drop before baptisms and decisions and overall attendance.  So – it’s a good early warning system!

When you’re not hitting the 5% mark

One thing to note – it’s okay if you don’t hit 5% every single week.  Don’t beat yourself up over that. The key is over the course of a month are we over 5%?  Over the course of the quarter?  Over the course of the year?  Are we  trending upward over the past as well?

Next Steps

If you are at 5% it’s a sign you are outwardly focused – but for explosive growth you need more than that.  Below 5% you are in danger.

I hope this ratio has given you something to aim toward and refocus your efforts on.

Thank you for being Kingdom Focused!


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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

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