Did you know that you have access to a wide variety of demographic data about the mission field surrounding your church? Or that there are grants of up to $30,000 available to help your church start a new ministry?
These resources and many others are available through the Office of Congregational Development. Its two primary functions are to help start new churches across Minnesota and to help existing churches grow spiritually, numerically, and in community impact through various processes and tools.
Congregational Development works to keep healthy churches healthy, assists struggling congregations to find their way, and creates new worship opportunities in areas that are not served (or are under-served) by the United Methodist Church in Minnesota. Efforts are supported through apportionments, grants, and other sources.
In addition to the three primary revitalization processes available through the conference, churches can also receive specialized consulting in a wide variety of areas, including ministry plan development, discerning the future, children and youth programming, and crisis/conflict resolution. Churches interested in consulting must begin by having a conversation with their district superintendent.
The Minnesota Conference has a group subscription to the online demographic research and report service MissionInsite. This tool provides unlimited access to a wealth of information about the mission field surrounding individual churches within our conference (including data and projections related to age, education, socioeconomic status, lifestyle, and marketing preferences of people within a specific geographic area). Standardized and customizable reports are available to all United Methodist churches in Minnesota. Interpretive tools are also provided for applying data to mission field identification and ministry plan development. The conference maintains this subscription so that there is no fee to churches for this service.
For help using this tool or to request a customized report, contact Gail Johnson, congregational development associate, (612) 230-6125.
Natural Church Development (NCD) provides surveys for 30 members of your congregation. The results are tabulated and you receive two reports detailing the strengths and vulnerabilities of your congregation. This information can help you focus your efforts for growth.
This process involves a “principle-oriented” approach; using a survey tool, churches are assessed for eight quality principles deemed essential for a vital congregation. A variety of resources are also available for moving the NCD reports from descriptive material to a foundation for strategic planning and implementation so you will be able to focus on the areas that will yield the greatest long-range return on investment.
To learn more, contact Gail Johnson, congregational development associate, (612) 230-6125.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church