Local Church Ministry

Metric Mondays: Baptism Ratio

Metric Mondays is a new series that highlights a different metric each week that can be used to help churches measure the health and effectiveness of their ministries. For more on why metrics matter, click here.

This Week’s Metric: Baptism Ratio

Why It Matters:

Generally, larger churches tend to have more baptisms than smaller churches, which leads some to believe that larger churches are more effective evangelistically than smaller churches.  That may be true. But then again, it may not. A better gauge of evangelistic effectiveness is the baptism ratio.

The baptism ratio (also referred to as a conversion ratio) simply calculates the number of people it takes in your church to reach one person for Jesus Christ. The fewer people that it takes to reach an individual for Christ, the better.

How It’s Calculated:

The ratio is usually calculated in one of two ways.  First, you can determine the ratio of how many church members it takes to reach one person for Christ.  This calculation would be:

Total Number of Resident Members / # of Baptisms = Membership Baptism Ratio

Instead of using the church membership, you may choose to determine the ratio based upon your church’s average worship attendance.  Due to inflated church membership rolls, this second calculation is the recommended option for assessing your church’s evangelistic effectiveness.  That calculation would be:

Average Worship Attendance / # of Baptisms = Attendance Baptism Ratio

For both calculations, you would need to specify the timeframe that you are examining (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.).

So, let’s say that a church with 200 members with an average worship attendance of 80 had 4 baptisms in the past year.  The baptism ratios would be:

Membership Baptism Ratio = 200/4 = 50 members per baptism

Attendance Baptism Ratio = 80/4 = 20 attenders per baptism

How To Interpret It:

Depending on where you look, you will find different benchmarks for an effective evangelistic church. In general, any Attendance Baptism Ratio under 20:1 is considered a good sign.

In addition to calculating your current baptism ratio, it is also a good idea to find out if your church is becoming more or less evangelistic over time.

For example, if you find that your baptism ratio has been decreasing over the past 5 years, that means it is taking less people to reach one person for Christ than it used to. That’s a good sign that your church is becoming more evangelistic.

Similarly, if you find that your baptism ratio has been increasing over the past 5 years, it means that it is taking more people to reach one person for Christ. This could be a sign that your church is growing less effective evangelistically.


How is your church’s evangelistic effectiveness? If you are not already doing so, begin tracking your baptism/conversion ratio to see if your church is becoming more or less effective evangelistically.

If you find that you are becoming more effective, praise the Lord and keep at it!  If you find that you are becoming less effective, ask the Lord to give your church a renewed passion for evangelism. Talk to your church leaders about the trend toward evangelistic ineffectiveness and discuss ways to turn things around.

Every number tells a story. What is your baptism ratio telling you about your church?

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