By Ken Howard
We are excited to announce that, with the completion and distribution of our Beta User Guide, and the distribution of logins to the Beta release to our five test dioceses, Datastory for Faith Communities (DFC) is now in full beta!
Five Episcopal Dioceses are participating in beta testing the DFC app:
- Diocese of Maryland, where Canon to the Ordinary Scott Slater and Bishop Eugene Sutton graciously allowed us to prototype and alpha test Datastory for Faith Communities in their Patapsco Valley Regional Parish group.
- Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast, where Kammy Young – former director of contextual education at Sewanee School of Theology and newly resident priest in the diocese – was tapped by Bishop Russell Kendrick to coordinate with us on beta testing, and was incredibly helpful in reviewing the Beta User Guide and also in pre-release debugging.
- Diocese of Georgia, whose (“Loose”) Canon to the Ordinary, Frank Logue, helped us identify potential beta-test dioceses.
- Diocese of Oklahoma, whose Canon for Church Growth and Development, Susan Brown Snook, is one of the brightest and most successful church planters I have known.
- Diocese of Pennsylvania, whose Canon for Innovation and Community Engagement, Kirk Berlenbach, discovered what we were up to with DFC, and asked if his diocese could join us in the beta test.
I can’t tell you how happy we are to be joined in the beta test by this diverse group of dioceses with a heart for innovation in missional ministry.
Beta testing will run through the end of March. Then based on feedback from beta users at the congregational level and the diocesan level, we will exterminate any last bugs, and make final revisions to the program, which we hope to release publicly in mid-2018.
What is Datastory for Faith Communities?
If you’ve been following our progress on this blog, you know that Datastory for Faith Communities (DFC) is an online, real-time, interactive missional context assessment tool developed through a collaboration between Datastory Consulting and The FaithX Project. It is called Datastory because it allows faith leaders and congregations to use demographic and lifestyle data to develop a clearer understanding of the stories of the neighborhoods in which they live and the people they are called to serve. It gives faith leaders and their congregations the ability to begin to answer the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Answering that question is the key to all missional ministry (click here for more information).
What Does It Mean To Be Missional
Practically speaking, being a “missional” congregation means that you are working to form a healthy symbiosis with your community. A missional congregation does not think of the community as a way to meet the needs of the congregation. Nor does it think of itself as a bestower of good upon the community. Instead, it views itself and the community as equal partners in a common cause relationship.
Datastory for Faith Communities is designed help congregations and dioceses become more missional by helping them to get to know their neighbors and their neighborhood in three specific ways:
- People Characteristics. Who are they? What do they value? How do they behave?
- Community Issues. What are the issues facing the people of the community?
- Community Resources. What resources exist in the community to help them face those issues?
We call this process Missional Context Analysis.
And the best part about Datastory for Faith Communities is that, rather than simply handing faith leaders a report which tells faith leaders what we think they ought to know about their neighborhoods and people, it gives them the tools to do it for themselves.
For more information on Datastory for Faith Communities or to get on the list to be notified when the public version is released, contact (The Rev.) Ken Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org.