Saturday, March 28, 2009

Assessment of the Local Church

When I came to Ojai UMC, I was given a task of completing the Vision. This was in essence an effort to determine an assessment of the local congregation. I was relieved and enlivened to see that this is a moderate change from previous Discipline language. It is far beyond time for all churches to see that we all need assessment and reVisioning, even when we are on the upward climb, starting to slide, or on a plateau.

Here is the language to see what THE UMC thinks about Local Church Assessment, as outlined in the United Methodist Book of Discipline

CALMS Discipline Changes
Created on 8/19/2008 1:07 PM by mcunningham
Page 217 of 1477
New Paragraph Number: 213
Original Paragraph Number: 213
Version: 1
Calendar Item: 274
¶ 213. A Process for Assessment of Local Church Potential- Since every congregation is
located in a community in some type of transition, every local church is encouraged to study
their congregation’s potential. Upon the request of the congregation the district
superintendent shall appoint a study task force to assist in an extensive study of the past,
present, and potential ministry of that local church. Alternatively, the district superintendent
may appoint such a task force when the future viability of the congregation is in question or
whenever he/she deems it necessary for other reasons. The task force shall be composed of
an equal number of lay and clergypersons and shall include persons from that congregation.
1. This study shall include, but not be limited to: a) unique missional opportunities and
needs of the community; b) present ministries of the congregation; c) number of leaders and
style of leadership; d) growth potential of the surrounding community; e) fiscal and facilities
needs; f) distance from other United Methodist churches; g) number and size of churches of
other denominations in the community; h) other items that may impact the church’s ability
to fulfill the mission of the Church as stated in Chapter One, Section I.
2. The findings shall be published and presented to the congregation with
recommendations as to how best to fulfill the local church’s call to ministry and to optimize
the stewardship of the ministry resources available. The recommendations shall explore
options for serving the community with nurture, outreach, and witness ministries as an
organized church (¶¶ 201-204) or cooperative parish ministries (¶ 206) or ecumenical shared
ministries (¶ 207); or give special attention to redevelopment, relocation, or discontinuance.
Those invited to the presentation shall include: the members of the congregation, the
Comment [MCD174]: #274
Deleted: In static, declining, or
changing population areas, local
churches may take the opportunity to
Deleted: do
Deleted: 1521
Deleted: 1521
CALMS Discipline Changes
Created on 8/19/2008 1:07 PM by mcunningham
Page 218 of 1477
pastor(s), the district superintendent, and members of the district board of church location
and building (¶ 2518).
3. a)The members of the local church shall consider the recommendations and develop
goals and a ministry action plan in response to the recommendations. The district
superintendent shall report the results of the study and the congregation’s response to the
cabinet, with recommendations for the allocation of conference staff, resourcing, financial
support, or other resources needed to undergird the congregation’s efforts to reach its
recommended potential. Such annual conference support shall be committed no longer than
three years. b) In urban churches where the reported average worship attendance for the
previous two conference years is below 25 or is unknown, the District Superintendent may
convene a special session of the conference to take action concerning the ministry
recommendations. In addition to the local church charge conference membership, the
members of the District Board of Church Location and Building will be present with voice

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