Last week we discussed how we approach assessing the vitality of congregations based on key parochial report trends and their sustainability based on key demographic projections. We described how we transform those trends and projections into a Congregational Vitality Index and Congregational Sustainability Index and how dioceses other judicatories can use these indexes to perform a system-wide triage of their congregations in their current form and location.
This week we turn from how to assess our current congregational resources to how to predict and discover emerging missional opportunities in the communities around us.
Quantum physicist Niels Bohr famously said, “Prediction is difficult, especially about the future.”
But discovering emerging missional opportunities wasn’t as difficult as it might sound. Or more accurately, once we did the hard work of correlational research necessary to assess congregational sustainability, it wasn’t so hard to take the next step into the predictive analytics of missional opportunity.
Basically, it required taking our existing diagnostic algorithms for sustainability (population growth, diversity growth, generational predominance, and “qualified population”), and transforming them into positive markers in a new algorithm for missional opportunity.