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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church

    news article

    Track data, gain insight, and help your church with VitalSigns

    November 7, 2017 / By Kathleen Christiansen

    The VitalSigns Dashboard is a tool that allows churches to track church growth indicators, such as weekly worship attendance, professions of faith, small group participation, missional participation, and financial giving. It is a deeper level of insight, support, and accountability that tracks and trends vital information in an easy-to-understand dashboard. VitalSigns provides both a real-time pulse and long-term perspective on what’s going on in congregations, Districts, and Conferences. It is designed to help congregations follow their progress on the goals they set each year.

    “It’s really a tool to help resource local congregations,” said Director of Vital Congregations the Rev. Aaron Bouwens. “It’s not a tool that we’re going to be using to do harm or to be punitive to churches. It really is going to be a tool to say ‘what’s happening in our local churches from a logistics standpoint?’ and then ‘how can we help engage those churches with resources that would be helpful to what’s happening in their life?’”

    The General Council on Finance and Administration pays for this software through General Church apportionments – which the Upper New York Conference paid in full in 2016. The UNY Conference began using VitalSigns about 18 months ago, and so far, 38 UNY churches have signed up.

    Right now, most churches only report church growth indicators once a year. It could take years for trends to appear with this method of reporting.

    “The idea is that by doing this weekly, churches can start to see trends and changes earlier,” Rev. Bouwens said.

    It takes about 10 minutes to sign up for VitalSigns. After a church signs up, it will receive an email each Sunday with a link to track data for worship attendance, profession of faith, baptisms, and other categories. Rev. Bouwens said it only takes about five minutes each week to share the information.

    “It’s not asking for new information; it’s just asking to share the information more regularly,” he said. “We are not asking churches to start counting something they aren’t already counting.”

    Rev. Bouwens then reviews the information each Tuesday to determine what, if anything, can be done to assist each church.

    “Our intent is to be able to look at the trends of what’s happening in the churches and figure out how to best resource them,” Rev. Bouwens said.

    For more information about VitalSigns, including how to sign up, click here.

    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 86 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."