When Bowser pokes a cold, wet nose under my arm to signal it's time to pet him, the nose tells me he's healthy. When the nurse announces "120 over 80" for my blood pressure, I know I'm healthy. But when my church treasurer flings a file of figures across the table in his report, how do I know if my church is financially healthy?
What are some vital signs of churches that are fiscally fit?
No one set of statistical canons will measure the fiscal fitness of every church. For every gauge, there's a thriving church mocking its credibility. God makes each church unique.
Churches also vary greatly by denomination, locale, membership demographics, era of church life, size, and other factors. And statistics are notoriously malleable and fallible. As one blunt writer has said, "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics!"
So, what's left?
General indicators—not bold, universal, unassailable facts. Generally speaking, though, certain factors point toward church fiscal health, ...1