Finding Fertile Soil – Missional Opportunity Index

This post on the Missional Opportunity Index is Part 3 of our
MapDash Analytics Series

How do you know if your judicatory needs a new congregation? And how do you know where?

How can you know whether there are opportunities for multiple congregations to collaborate in engaging growing communities that they share?

How do you know whether investing resources in a struggling congregation is likely to make a difference?

These are important questions that every judicatory has to answer sooner or later.

The Missional Opportunity Index (or MOI) was designed to give judicatories data that can help them answer these important questions and more.

What is a Missional Opportunity Index? 

Think of this analytic as one of those aerial infrared photos that can tell you where the soil is fertile and where it is being depleted, except designed to determine where there is fertile soil for ministry and where the soil is less fertile for that purpose. When you look at an MOI, areas where soil is becoming more fertile for ministry pop out as bright green. Meanwhile, areas where soil is becoming less fertile pop out as bright red, while other areas show as a various shades of less intense green, yellow, or red.

The bright green areas are emerging missional opportunities, that is, where typical missional strategies are more likely to succeed. The bright red areas, which represent emerging missional challenges, should not be interpreted as “do no ministry here,” but that typical church-centered missional strategies won’t work and that creative, non-church-centered approaches to ministry must be tried.

When you explore the MOI map in the context of our other analytics (more on these in a later post), you begin to acquire the knowledge and understanding that will help you answer some of your important questions.

By overlaying their MOI with the 15-min DriveTimes for every congregation…

… this Maryland-based judicatory was able to quickly identify a site that was calling out for a new congregation, and come to a decision to start one within months.

Meanwhile, by overlaying their MOI with DriveTimes and their Congregational Vitality Index, this judicatory was able to identify areas where existing congregations might collaboratively engage a missional opportunity that was emerging in an area that fell between them and within their 15-minute DriveTime boundaries. 

Meanwhile, this New York area judicatory, by overlaying their MOI with their Congregational Vitality Index, was able to identify low vitality congregations in areas of high missional opportunity that revealed likely candidates for successful congregational redevelopment.

And by that same method, the same judicatory was able to identify low vitality congregations in low missional opportunity areas, which would enable them to open frank and transparent conversations about courageous closure or alternative forms of ministry.

These are just a few of the ways various judicatories have used the Missional Opportunity Index. It’s very likely that you could find even more!

FaithX is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and Ken’s faith-based consulting practice at FaithX is done under an extension of ministry from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

Want to learn more about missional opportunities
in your congregation’s neighborhood?
Click here for a free Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Report

Want to learn how your judicatory can identify
emerging missional opportunities within its boundaries?
Click hereto schedule a free demo of MapDash for Faith Communities by Datastory
and Strategic Missional Planning by FaithX