By The Rev. Canon C. John Thompson-Quartey
Canon for Ministry Development & Congregational Vitality
Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta
MapDash for Faith Communities has been a real game changer for our diocese. Using this tool on a judicatory level has proven to be a real Godsend, because we are now able to get a deeper understanding of the needs and opportunities in the environment in which our faith communities are located, so that we may better craft a suitable intervention to help each congregation respond to real needs in their communities. No more do we have to default to anecdotes about why congregations are failing. With a little help from FaithX, MapDash for Faith Communities is giving us real data with which we can interpret the needs and opportunities in our communities.
One of our congregations was looking to reestablish its involvement in their community. Initially, their desire to attract young families led them to believe they needed to start an after-school program. However, using a combination of the Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Report for demographics, what places/businesses were nearby, and the Lifestyle Predominance missional layer from MapDash, they learned that the neighborhoods they served has an aging population, as well as several assisted living facilities within a five-minute drive from their address.
Looking inward, they also discovered that many of their parishioners were caregivers for aging parents. They knew how much caregivers needed an occasional break. And they learned that the membership of the congregation had a strong passion for caregivers of the elderly.
So, the vestry decided to look for partners within other local congregations to create a new ministry that supported caregivers for the elderly. This missional shift would not have happened without the benefit of knowing who their neighbors were and what the real needs were. MapDash helped them redirect their focus to meet a real community need.