Frequently Asked Questions

Click on a question to be taken to the answer further down on this page. All questions and answers can also be downloaded.

 

I am new to statistics. Where do I start?

When in the year do I start counting?

Can I enter statistics all year?

I want to enter my church’s statistics on the online data entry site but I haven’t got any login details or authorisation. How do I proceed?

I am responsible for collecting my church’s statistics but I don’t have the means to go online. What can I do?

I’ve got lots of forms left over from last year’s statistics collection. Can I use them again?

What happens to the data that is collected each year?

I want to save my statistics before the website closes for data entry. How do I do this?

I can only see the data I submitted last November. How do I get hold of previous years’ information?

The data collection has finished for this year but I need to make some changes. What do I do?

My church has closed. Why does my church still appear on the data entry site?

My church has become a class of another society. Do we still need to record individual statistics?

My church has merged with two other societies but continues to meet as before. Do we need to do anything?

My church used to be part of an LEP but this has now been discontinued. How do I report this?

My church’s building has closed for refurbishment, but we still regularly meet for worship in a rented venue. What do we need to do?

One of my churches has disappeared from the statistics site. Why?

How do I record LEP membership? 

Do in-year changes apply to the total membership or just to Methodist members?

What is meant by Pastoral Others or Community Roll?

Who exactly needs to be included in attendance figures? How do I avoid counting people twice?

Our Administrator appears in the list of office holders. Do they need to be added in the Lay Employees section too?

Our church rents out rooms to non-church organisations. Do we need to record this on our returns?

I am not sure what to record as “circuit funeral”. What is the difference between this and the funerals recorded under individual church statistics?

How do I register a circuit initiative?

I want to register someone who has moved to my church from another circuit. I see an error message that tells me that they are already registered, but I can’t see them in my list of users. How do I proceed?

My Superintendent has authorised me but when I try to access my church the system tells me that I have “insufficient permissions”. What is wrong?

There are several people listed as web users for my church / circuit / district who have long moved away or rescinded their role. How do I remove them?

 

I am new to statistics. Where do I start?

A good place to start are the statistics pages on the Methodist website, especially the online data entry section, which includes guidance notes, downloadable forms, and guidance on how to register as a web user: www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/statistics-for-mission/online-data-entry/

When in the year do I start counting?

For the 2018 statistics collection, the following time scales apply –
Membership changes: data should be given for 1 November 2017 to 1 November 2018; the actual membership figure should be recorded as it was on 1 November 2018.
Attendance at Worship: attendance should be recorded for the first four weeks of October 2018.
Lay Employees: as of 1 November 2018.
Groups and activities: as of 1 November 2018.

Can I enter statistics all year?

No. The data entry site opens at the beginning of September each year, and closes at the end of January the following year. However, static data, which does not follow an annual cycle, such as office holders or church details (e.g. website address) can be edited at any time.

I want to enter my church’s statistics on the online data entry site but I haven’t got any login details or authorisation. How do I proceed?

Follow the registration process as per the Registration and Login guide within the online data entry section of the statistics for mission pages of the Methodist website: www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/statistics-for-mission/online-data-entry/

I am responsible for collecting my church’s statistics but I don’t have the means to go online. What can I do?

Ask your minister to provide you with the downloadable paper forms, which are updated each year.

I’ve got lots of forms left over from last year’s statistics collection. Can I use them again?

No. There are often subtle changes to the questions we ask each year, and you might be collecting information we don’t require, or missing something out. Please download the current form which is available on www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/statistics-for-mission/online-data-entry/

What happens to the data that is collected each year?

From this information, a Connexional-level statistical report is prepared for the Methodist Conference every three years. The latest report in this series was presented at the 2017 Conference.
Once entered via the statistics for mission site, the data is securely stored on one of the web servers in the Methodist Church House. It can be accessed by the relevant members of the Connexional Team, such as the Statistics Officer and the Conference Office, immediately after you have submitted it.
One of the applications which annual statistics are used for is the Methodist Church Advanced Webmap (www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/statistics-for-mission/methodist-church-advanced-map/), which visualises statistical data on membership, attendance and other activities via pie charts and graphs, enabling trend comparisons and future mission planning.

I want to save my statistics before the website closes for data entry. How do I do this?

Current and previous years’ church statistics are available in a simplified format via the PRINT REPORTS link, which can be found in the left-hand information / action panel of each individual church record. Current statistics can also be downloaded via the Download a spreadsheet of current data link which can be found on the welcome page of each church record. These will show the latest data entered and revert to blank sheets at the start of each Connexional year (1 September).

I can only see the data I submitted last November. How do I get hold of previous years’ information?

Previous years’ church statistics are available in a simplified format via the PRINT REPORTS link, which can be found in the left-hand information / action panel of each individual church record. More detailed church, circuit and district statistics of the most recent collection can be found in PDF format on www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/statistics-for-mission/district-circuit-and-church-reports/. For even more detailed or historic records, email statisticsformission@methodistchurch.org.uk, but please bear in mind that the electronic collection only started in 2002. Records before that are a lot less detailed.

The data collection has finished for this year but I need to make some changes. What do I do?

Contact the Web Support Officer on statisticsformission@methodistchurch.org.uk.

My church has closed. Why does my church still appear on the data entry site?

If a society ceases to meet, becomes a class of another, or if one or more societies merge to form a new church, this change of status needs to be reported via the REPORT CHANGED STATUS button within the church profile. Once the Connexional Database has been updated, the change will be reflected throughout the Online Suite of Applications.

My church has become a class of another society. Do we still need to record individual statistics?

No. The change will have been reported via the REPORT CHANGED STATUS button within the church profile section (see above). Membership, attendance, groups and activities should then be reported as part of the statistical record of the incorporating church. Work is in progress to develop a more robust system for recording classes, but for now, the best way to do this is to add an AGAPE (groups and activities) entry to the society under which a class records its membership, and choose “Class Meeting” in the Prayer, Fellowship and Worship category (E49 on the groups appendix).

My church has merged with two other societies but continues to meet as before. Do we need to do anything?

Any merger of two or more churches needs to be reported via the REPORT CHANGED STATUS function within the church profile. The Web Support Officer will be in touch in case there are any queries.

My church used to be part of an LEP but this has now been discontinued. How do I report this?

Use the REPORT CHANGED STATUS function within the church profile, choosing “Ceased LEP” as option.

My church’s building has closed for refurbishment, but we still regularly meet for worship in a rented venue. What do we need to do?

A change of worship site, whether temporary or permanent, does not affect the statistics collection, which is about the people rather than the building. However, your church will still need to update the property/trusteeship details in its annual returns.
Contact the Web Support Officer on returns@methodistchurch.org.uk with the new details.

One of my churches has disappeared from the statistics site. Why?

This might be because the society in question might have become a class or merged with another society. Another possibility might be that you have not got sufficient permissions to access the statistics record of that particular church. Please check with your Superintendent or contact the Web Support Officer on statisticsformission@methodistchurch.org.uk.

Recording membership

  •  How do I record LEP membership?

You need to report both total membership and “Methodist-only” membership.  If all members are “joint” (or otherwise not “Methodist-only”), then report this last figure as zero.  The “joint” figure should not be divided up according to percentages or number of denominations, although some churches make a separate note of this for calculating apportionment and representation.

  • Do in-year changes apply to the total membership or just to Methodist members?

Transfers in or out, gains and losses as well as deaths should be based on “Methodist-only” members (if there were none of these this year or last year, report all in-year changes as zero). However, baptisms, marriages and funerals should be reported for the LEP as a whole.

  • What is meant by Pastoral Others or Community Roll?

The Community Roll records all those under the pastoral care of the church.  Those who are not formally members (e.g. children, adherents) are counted as “Pastoral Others”, and this figure should be reported alongside the membership figure.

Recording attendance

  • Who exactly needs to be included? How do I avoid counting people twice?

The figures entered in this section should be the number of people actually present at the church's public worship; it should not include small group meetings or special events like fêtes or markets, but might include harvest festivals, services with baptisms, or ecumenical guest services taking place at the church.
What needs to be recorded here is total headcount; this means people should be counted every time they go to a service, so you don’t have to worry about double-counting.

Recording lay employees

  • Our Administrator appears in the list of office holders. Do they need to be added in the Lay Employees section too?

Yes – but administrators are an exception; normally it’s either one or the other. Recording someone’s details in the office holders listing means their name and contact details will be held on the Connexional Database, and they may occasionally be contacted with information relating to their role (e.g. District Membership Secretaries might receive information about statistics, treasurers might be contacted by the Connexional Team’s Finance Department). Any data is securely stored on one of the web servers in the Methodist Church House.
Lay employees data within the annual statistics is anonymous and only tells us that a church has a certain number of lay employees, but not who they are.
If in doubt, please contact statisticsformission@methodistchurch.org.uk.

Recording activities, groups, associations, projects and events (AGAPE)

  • Our church rents out rooms to non-church organisations. Do we need to record this on our returns?

If you are not sure whether or not to record a group meeting on church premises, a good question to ask is: Is this a recognised part of the church’s mission and ministry, or is it mainly for generating income?

Recording circuit statistics

  • I am not sure what to record as “circuit funeral”. What is the difference between this and the funerals recorded under individual church statistics?

Funerals of all those under the pastoral care of a Local Church should be reported in the statistics of the church in question, whether or not they were held at the church. Funerals conducted by ministers stationed in circuit but where the deceased has not come under the pastoral care of any local church should be reported under the circuit statistics tab.
If you are not sure where to record which type of funeral, ask the following questions:

Is the funeral in a Methodist Church?
YES: record it as “Funeral in Church” in the church-level Membership and Community Roll tab
NO:
Is the funeral of anyone with a meaningful connection with a Methodist Church (“under the pastoral care of a Local Church”)?
YES: record it as “Funeral elsewhere” in the church-level Membership and Community Roll tab
NO: record it as “Outside Funeral led by a circuit minister” in the circuit statistics tab

Please note that this field is optional; if it is left blank, it will be assumed that the circuit did not enter any data; if it shows “0” (zero), it will be assumed that the circuit reports that no circuit funerals have taken place.

Recording circuit initiatives

  • How do I register a circuit initiative?

Go to www.methodist.org.uk/about-us/statistics-for-mission/online-data-entry/ and download the Registering a circuit initiative form. The Web Support Officer will be in touch before adding the initiative to the circuit data.

Web user management

  • I want to register someone who has moved to my church from another circuit. I see an error message that tells me that they are already registered, but I can’t see them in my list of users. How do I proceed?

When someone moves to another circuit, all that needs to change is their permissions. You do not need to start from scratch. Web users can request to have their permissions amended via the Edit My Profile link which appears in the top right corner of the screen when logged into the Online Suite.
Alternatively, contact statisticsformission@methodistchurch.org.uk.

  • My Superintendent has authorised me but when I try to access my church the system tells me that I have “insufficient permissions”. What is wrong?

You may have been authorised to access a particular church, but it could be that none of the options (statistics, returns, consents) had been ticked. Please check with the person who has authorised you.

  • There are several people listed as web users for my church / circuit / district who have long moved away or rescinded their role. How do I remove them?

You need user management permissions to do this. It’s important to ensure that no one has permissions they don’t need any more. While it may not be critical for statistical purposes, it is vital from a (property) managing trustee point of view. You may not be able to delete their account altogether but if you have given them permission to access churches’ data, you can also remove these.

Last updated May 2018

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