Step 6: What Does This Say About Us? (Sustainability).
The data about your communities not only teaches you about your neighborhoods and the people, they also can teach you something about the internal sustainability, external sustainability, and vitality of your congregation.
- External Sustainability. Data trends on things like population growth, diversity, and generational balance, along with the number of same-denomination congregations located within your MissionWeb, can tell you something about whether the community has the capacity―in people and resources―to support a congregation.
- Internal Sustainability. Examining similar trends in your congregation, such as attendance, diversity, child-to-adult ratio, and income, can tell you something about whether your congregation has the capacity―in people and resources―to support itself.
- Vitality. Examining whether your congregation has sufficient desire and will to adapt to the characteristics, needs, and aspirations of the communities and people around it can tell you something about your congregation’s vitality.
For a free resource to help you dive deeper into the question of sustainability and viability, go here to download a copy of our Congregational Vitality Assessment: http://bit.ly/FaithXCVA
Step 7 – Where Do We Go from Here? (Making Plans).
This could be a blog post all by itself, but suffice it to say that if you include the following information, you are on the right track:
- Congregational Vision: Summarize what you have discerned that God is calling the congregation to be and to do in one or two clear and concise sentences.
- Population Characteristics: Organize and summarize what you have learned about the unique characteristics of the people in your neighborhoods, especially those who are not currently “at the table.”
- Community Issues: Organize and summarize what you have learned about the issues people in your neighborhoods face.
- Community Resources: Organize and summarize what you have learned about the resources and strengths that are already present in your neighborhoods and people.
- Opportunities and Strategies: Organize and summarize what you have learned about the opportunities that exist for you to serve the populations you learned are not at your table, and how your congregation will have to adapt itself to meet these opportunities.
- Milestones, Responsibilities, and Dates: Set forth what needs to happen, who will do it, and by when.
Obviously, there is much more we could have said about any of these steps. But if we did, we’d have book rather than a series of blog posts. So if you have questions anything in these posts, feel free to contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week, we will kick it up a notch and discuss Missional Planning at the Adjudicatory Level (dioceses, districts, synods, etc.). Watch this space…