JohnShaw wrote:What about the idea that wards and stakes not in the greater populated member areas are spending more budget on items out of necessity, and sometimes because of policy.
Other than your "bus to the temple" example, what other "items out of necessity, and sometimes because of policy" can you cite that require spending more of your budget because of your location? While transportation costs may be greater as the distance from member to member and to the church location increases- to meetings, to collect fast offerings or home teach, these are not budget items...And I believe all shipping on curriculum and supplies is constant for most units. I'm not being critical, I'm trying to understand.
As for your sacrament count, I agree that a one month sampling out of three doesn't seem statistically accurate, I've lobbied both ward and stake to return to counting every organization and Sacrament every month. Not only for budget reasons, but for shepherding of members. For the budget example, weather could affect the count for units in temperate regions for December. I've tracked major snowstorms on Sunday mornings, and these drastically affect our count for sacrament and attendance for every organization. If you get two bad storms on two Sundays in December, our count is very low. Is it fair, No. Correctable? Not presently- unless you factor in a budget adjustment for units in snowy areas...
What concerns me more than budget (as it does you) is the other anomaly this sampling can produce for leaders who are charged with shepherding their members. A member who attends the Christmas program, and thus attends his quorum meeting on that sunday as well, and no other meeting for the whole quarter, is counted as a "member attending" for the quarter. He only attending one meeting, but to call him "attending" in any fashion, is certainly misleading! His leaders, if collecting only the required data for "Quarterly report" attendance, might miss the fact that he really is not attending his meetings. I'm a big fan of a monthly "members not attending any meeting" report to the bishopric.