The Blog of Gordon Pruitt the Pastor of St. Matthew's United Methodist Church in Richmond Virginia

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Church Statistics 1

I was watching 60 Minutes on Sunday night and they had a great story about a guy named Bill James, (view video here). Bill James is a former security guard whose love of baseball and statistics helped change the way we view what is important in baseball. One example.
Batting average used to be one of the key stats when looking at the effectiveness of a hitter. James came up the On Base Percentage which gives batters credit for walks as well as hits. This he believes better reflects a batter effectiveness more so than batting average. An example of this, Ichiro Suzuki has a batting average of .320 which means he gets a hit about %32 of the time. This is very good. Adam Dunn has a batting average of .297, which means he gets a hit about %30 percent of the time. Looking at this stat you would assume that Suzuki is the more effetive hitter.
When you look at the OBP you get a different picture. Suzuki has been walked 5 times and has an OBP of .358. Dunn has been walked 27 times and has an OBP of .445, almost 90 point higher than Suzuki. As a result of the walks that Dunn draws, he puts much more stress on the pitcher than Suzuki even though his batting average is 23 points below Suzuki. Would you rather have Suzuki who gets on base about %36 of the time or Dunn who gets on about %45 of the time?

This got me thinking, when it comes to church what are the important statistics that maybe are not that important and what are some other statistics we should be looking at if any?

1 comment:

John Meunier said...

Great question.

I think some of the most important things are hard to quantify. We count what we can count.

But how do you measure growth in discpleship. Can we even define what that means?