Statistics for mission

Each year the national church asks churches to return a range of information about the number of people coming to church through the year and to Easter and Christmas services, also about the numbers of baptisms, weddings and funerals, about the worshipping community of the church. and often there is a particular question about the life of the church.  This information is used to inform national church statistics.  It is also converted into dashboards which provide local snapshots of the church community.

We encourage people to use the Online Parish Returns System for submitting their Statistics for Mission and Finance Returns.   2018 Statistics for Mission returns can now be entered.

Please Note that the 2018 form asks for a more detailed breakdown of the age demographics of our Worshipping Communities than in previous years.  It asks for the numbers of people aged from 0-10, 11-17, 18-29, 30-49, 50-69 and 70+.  This will enable us to better understand the demographic challenge that the new Diocesan strategy seeks to address.  There are some resources that could help at the bottom of this page.


Why Collect Statistics ?

Good quality statistics can present a facts-based window on the world, as well as helping to predict where things might be heading for the future. They can help with forming strategy, show whether current strategies are working well and highlight where more support might be needed.

Statistics can help us see more clearly what the church and the community we serve is like and inform planning for the mission and ministry of the church.

Statistics can also help the wider church put her resources in the right place. They can help us to share good news widely, inside and outside the church.

Good statistics are a powerful weapon in the mission and ministry armoury of local parishes, dioceses and the national church. Not for nothing do we call them Statistics for Mission!

If you are new to Statistics for Mission, you can download a helpful introduction that has been adapted from one produced by the Diocese of Derby here.

How we collect the statistics

In the Diocese of Sheffield we use the Church of England online Parish Returns system to submit both Statistics for Mission and Financial Summary Returns.  We encourage parishes to enter the information directly onto the system as this reduces the administration load and also gives you more control over the data.  For those who are not able to do this forms can be sent to Diocesan Church House where they will be submitted for you. PDF and Micorsoft Word versions of the forms can be accessed from links below

The website address for online entry of data is 

A full user guide to the system can be downloaded below.  If you have not used the web-based system before and would like to know your password please contact Karen Colley at Church House (

If there are any problems with the system, email

If you prefer to complete the forms in paper form, they can be downloaded using the links below.

The National Church requests that all data is submitted by the end of January in the following year.

Statistics for Mission Form 2018 pdf Statistics for Mission Form 2018 .doc (MS Word document)

The National Statistics Return Website has been updated for 2018 entries.  The User guide has been updated and can be downloaded from here Web user guide or from the Returns website.


Statistics Collection Tools

Experience has shown that if parishes collect data week by week through the year, it makes completing the Statistics for Mission return at the end of the year much easier and produces much more accurate results. To help you to do that, we are providing some statistics collection tools that have been developed by churches that you can download from the links below.

These are not extra forms that you have to fill in. If you find them helpful, then please use them, and feel free to adapt them. We don’t need you to submit them – they’re for your convenience and use only.


Worshipping Community  Worshipping Community (PDF)


The PDF document explains why the Worshipping Community statistics are gathered, their importance for the church (both locally and more widely),and also includes some tips to help collect them.


Worshipping Community List  Worshipping Community List (Excel)

Clicking the link will download a spreadsheet that will help you to collect Worshipping Community information including joiners and leavers.  It can also be used for an Electoral Roll count.

Attendance Calculator (Excel) 2018 Attendance Calculator (Excel)

Clicking the link will download a spreadsheet that will help you to collect your October Counts and calculate Usual Sunday Attendance.  It can also be used to help record figures for Advent, Christmas and Easter.

Fresh Expressions Choice Tree Fresh Expressions Choice Tree (PDF)

This document is a simple tool to help you decide whether you should include a group as a Fresh Expression in your Statistics return.

To help us provide the resources that help you we would be grateful for feedback about which tools you find useful and which ones you don't along with any suggestions for improvements.  Please contact Mark Wigglesworth in the Parish Support Team