Frequently Asked Questions 2020 Statistical Reports

Although there will be dramatic fluctuations from previous years and less consistency in reporting due to changing ministries, worship methods, and giving patterns, it remains vitally important for the statistical reports to be completed timely. The Book of Discipline requires the reports be submitted to the Conference no later than January 31st each year.

The information your church provides  will aid the Conference and Denomination in observing how congregations have been impacted and changed during 2020. Please have confidence the Conference will be cautious when utilizing the 2020 statistical information to make significant decisions affecting the local churches.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Conference staff for guidance especially related to statistical reporting for 2020. You can contact me directly or call 304-344-8331 Ext. 35. Also, please continue to watch the Conference website for updated information.

As we draw near to the end of the calendar year, we pray you and your congregations are continuing to discover new ministries and celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! We pray and plan for the continued growth of ministries and disciples for Jesus within the WV Conference and around the world each day!



How should we report our average worship attendance?

In the past, if a church was not able to have an in-person worship service one week due to weather or other issues they were asked not to factor in a zero but to reduce their weeks appropriately. For example, if First UMC had two “snow-days” in 2018 they should add up the total number of people who attended worship for the year and divide by 50 and not 52. Please use this same logic for 2020. If your church was only able to offer full in-person worship for ten weeks last year, then take your total worship attendance and divide it by ten, not 52.

It also says, “Number required or put ‘Zero” – this is because leaving this space blank will not work in our system when we look at totals for the conference, or the denomination. A blank and a zero are viewed differently.

How do we count people who viewed our worship services online?

Line “7a” of the statistical report asks for the average number of persons who worshiped with your church online. There are a wind variety of ways our churches shared their worship services with people who were not physically present in 2020. Because of that, there is no perfect answer. The best way is for you to take the number of views you had for a service and double it. This assumes there were an average of two people at home watching the service for each view. We ask that you use your best judgment in these calculations. Most churches will continue to utilize some form of online technology to share their worship service for years to come. This will help us to establish an accurate benchmark.

It also says, “Number required or put ‘Zero” – this is because leaving this space blank will not work in our system when we look at totals for the conference, or the denomination. A blank and a zero are viewed differently.

How do we count "first time guests" when we are online? 

Use your best judgement. There was some time in 2020 (January - mid March?) where most churches were meeting in person. Did you have any first-time visitors then? Many churches who meet online, or in a parking lot, or livestream, or post on YouTube, etc. will ask first-time guests to say "hi" in the chat or to somehow let the pastor know they are there. Did your church have any of those? Basically, if you know for sure there were some first-time guests for your worship services last year, please report them. If you do not have any actual data for first-time guest, go ahead and put a zero there. 2020 (and at least some of 2021) will have a big asterisk for all churches on all statistical reports. 

OK, so what if we are needing to count worship attendance for a charge?

2020 has certainly made it challenging for us in the area of statistical reporting. Unfortunately, there is no way for us to report online worship for a charge. Everything is currently set up only for individual churches.

The short answer is, use your best judgment. There is no perfect way for us to track online attendance when more than one church is participating in worship.

Here is the longer answer. Let’s say you have three churches in a charge and you are doing one online worship service for the three together. Church “A” averages six people for in-person worship; church “B” averages 20 people for in-person worship; and church “C” averages 30 people for in-person worship. If your online worship is averaging 56 people a week, my advice would be to report the online worship attendance for each church at about the same numbers as the in-person worship.

Now let’s say your online worship is averaging 100 people a week. This is where we would encourage you to use your knowledge of the churches to come up with a number for each church. For example, if you feel certain that the same six people in church “A” are there each week then just keep them at six. If you feel the rest of the increase is coming equally from churches “B” and “C” then just split it between them.

The bottom line, there is no good science for this yet. Be as accurate as you can, but don’t spend too much time on it. We all hope this will get easier as we gain more experience and the reporting catches up to our new ways of doing ministry.

Instructions: The instructions/worksheets for the 2020 Statistical Report has the wrong year in the typed description.   It should read “Total professing members reported at the close of 2019”  NOT 2018.  The year is stated correctly on the pre-printed forms which also provides the correct membership number that you ended with for 2019.  We apologize for any inconvenience.


Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Stats Guidance

  • If the church received a loan from PPP as part of the CARES Act that has not been forgiven, include the loan balance on line 27.
  • Enter the amount received from PPP as part of the CARES Act on line 54c (whether it's been forgiven or not).
  • Due to PPP proceeds being required to be expended for regular payroll and operating costs, the expenditure of these funds should be included on the applicable expense line.
Follow this link to submit your questions regarding 2020 Statitistical Reporting to Jamion.