Sacrament Meeting Attendance
- The count is performed in March, June, September, and December
- I find that 2 of those counting months (June and December) are traditionally when families go on vacation, many of them from outside of Utah go home to Utah, decreasing their home ward attendance, and increasing attendance in Utah wards - for students this can be multiple weeks affecting the counts negatively.
- The counts often exclude members who are home sick... a family of 10 that is home ill one Sunday during the count can really impact numbers - partial families that a wife or husband is home with a kid or 2. Some women who are home during a new baby time, there are multiple reasons why a member isn't counted.
- When a family that is partially there for some reason, but is generally there each week, isn't counted, it doesn't seem to me a good representation of the ward or branch.
I know that Generally this is something that an average is supposed to take care of, but, particularly for June and December, these months don't average well for me. I believe this leads to lower numbers in the diaspora Church.
I wonder if we counted members of our wards and branches like we do the YM and YW, if we wouldn't have a more accurate representation of activity for budget numbers, be more able to know who is there and who isn't, see a trend for a family starting towards the brink of inactivity, etc...
My second point is that wards and branches outside of the 'Mormon corridor' will spend more of their budget money on the programs of the church. A temple trip for the Youth (Adults as well) will include renting a bus for the day to get to a temple hours away. How many times does a ward in Utah need to take a BUS to a temple.
Activity rates are also often higher, generally, inside the 'Mormon corridor' and budgets for wards and stakes are much higher - generating more money for those wards.
I know there are many complications with funding a budget, the least of which is, you have to pick something, and it will never be perfect. But are there other ways you have thought of that would account for some of these complexities. Making the budgeting process a little more fair.
I have a hard time when a ward shows me their Sacrament meeting counts for December that look like this:
Week 1 - 160
Week 2 - 160
Week 3 - 140
Week 4 - 120
Average is 145 - but probably is better represented as 160... because in September it averaged 160, every month except December it averages 160... But even that average considering that Every week there is bound to be somebody that isn't present that would be considered active, if we counted generally, that could really mean 165 is a better representation, but we're off by 20*13 = $260 - a very nice YW activity that can't be held that year.
To those that will tell me that there is probably someone there Every week that isn't a member of the ward, and that makes up for the missed opportunities, I will tell you that I've been counting ward attendance outside of Utah off and on for 10 years, and you are wrong. It is magnitudes less likely that someone is visiting unexpectedly (contributing to higher than normal numbers) than someone stays home sick, or is on vacation, etc... (contributing to lower than normal numbers).
I welcome an opposing view in this thread, but was really hoping for some ideas on a potentially better system, maybe I'll be shown the light...