In the process of preparing for 2015, our team has been taking a look back at this past year to examine what worked, what didn’t and to better understand how our services and resources are accessed by the churches and families we serve. I’ll share some of our more interesting observations…
We did fewer live training events in 2014, but the events we did were very well-attended. Our training at the Green Campus of Parkside Church in February attracted 50 ministry leaders and volunteers from ten churches across Northeast Ohio. The Awana Annual Conference in Mississippi in late August drew approximately 175 ministry leaders and volunteers from dozens of churches across the state.
To this point in 2014, our staff have processed 46 requests for consultation. What do churches ask about when they request help from us?
68% are looking for help in managing a specific need or situation.
23% involve requests for training
11% involve requests for assistance with respite ministry.
We looked back over several years at the question of who contacts us for help. Perhaps this shouldn’t be a surprise, but only 37% of our inquiries from pastors or churches staff members…63% are initiated by volunteers. We also looked at the denominations of the churches from which requests were made-we’ve offered our services to all Christian churches, so we were somewhat surprised to find that nearly half of the churches we’ve received requests from since late 2012 are unaffiliated with any denomination. The next largest group is Baptist churches (18%).
We have 850 pastors, church staff, volunteers, parachurch ministry leaders and family members registered to access the resource kit available through our website…upgraded in October of this past year.
We recently shared some statistics generated from this year’s Inclusion Fusion Web Summit…but the videos from previous Web Summits continue to get lots of attention! The videos from our first two Inclusion Fusion events have now been viewed 20,498 times…including 8,000+ new views in the first eleven months of 2014.
Our Front Door online church platform reached a significant milestone in November when we became (to our knowledge) the first “multi-church site” on the Internet when First Christian Church in Canton, OH joined the platform. Multisite churches are quite the rage nowadays among church planters. We’re currently offering seven worship experiences per week and have special plans for attracting families otherwise unable to attend church during the coming Christmas season.
I continue to be astounded by the number of views the Power Point presentations we use for our talks receive through SlideShare. As of yesterday, the 32 handouts available on my personal SlideShare page had received 41,992 views! This number includes 2,241 views of the handouts from the Awana training described above.
Finally, when we surveyed our constituents this past summer, we found that the resource we provide that is most valued and most used is our blog. Thanks to the contributions of some truly fabulous writers and the buildup to Inclusion Fusion, we’ve experienced explosive growth in the volume of traffic the blog has received in 2014, especially in the last quarter of 2014. Here’s an illustration of the growth of the blog, based upon the number of “page views” the blog has received…
For a little background, we have a high percentage of regular blog users who return time and time again when we post resources of interest. The average “visitor” to Church4EveryChild views roughly 1.25 pages/visit. In 2012, we averaged 3,798 “views” per month, which equates to approximately 3,000 unique “visitors”-around 100 visitors/day. In 2013, that number jumped to 5,538 views/month, equating to a little under 150 visitors/day. In the first eleven months of 2014, we averaged 17,926 views/month, which equates to roughly 472 visitors/day. In the fourth quarter of 2014, we’ve been averaging 1,575 views (or roughly 1,260 blog visitors) per day!
The traffic to the blog isn’t explained by one or two “viral” posts. Our most popular blog post this year (on rethinking the criteria for Reactive Attachment Disorder) accounts for around 11% of the blog traffic.
One last nugget for my friends who are into overseas missions…This graphic shows where the folks are located who access our blog have been located over the past year, based upon IP addresses. In the last twelve months, our blog has been accessed by followers in 177 countries! The darker the coloring of the country in the illustration below, the larger our readership is in that country…
One last observation…Through the first eleven months of 2014, we provided the services listed above at a cost of $46,962.04. 2014 has been a very unusual year. Due to staff transitions, we had to operate through most of this year with a predominantly volunteer crew. We had 24 guest bloggers contribute in 2014, in addition to our staff consultants who are compensated for their services. ALL of our live training was offered by volunteers in 2014. Much of the video production for this year’s Inclusion Fusion was offered to us as a gift. We have nine Board members who contribute many hours to the cause and serve faithfully. We’re at the absolute extreme outer limits of what we can accomplish with the resources we have. Staff support to assist us with training and supporting volunteers, enhancing our ongoing support of the churches we serve and new funding to support the technology and production costs associated with making our training, groups and online church freely available online are desperately needed in the year ahead.
Thanks to all of you for coming along with us for the ride in 2014!
Key Ministry depends upon financial support from individuals and churches to continue to provide FREE consultation, training, resources and support to churches seeking to minister with families impacted by disability. Giving to Key Ministry has never been easier! Just text the dollar amount you’d like to give to (440) 337-4338, and your donation will be made securely through software designed by the folks from lifechurch.tv who designed the “Bible” app you probably use on your smartphone or tablet.
Please consider a gift to Key Ministry as you consider your year-end giving!