Last month we laid the foundation of context and discussed why a church should understand it. In this blog we are going take a deeper dive into context by examining the primary question:
What do your numbers tell you?
In the process of reviewing your church’s context, you will collect data for two categories of information: counts and containers. Counts are historical data that project the trajectory of your church. Containers are current capacities that must be adhered to (or changed).
- Average worship attendance (in each of the last 5 years)
- Average Bible study attendance by age group (last 5 years)
- Total baptisms and other additions (last 5 years)
- Number of acres owned
- Usable parking spaces
- Worship center seats
- Room capacities by age group
- Annual undesignated receipts (and designated budget giving)
After collecting and reviewing the counts and containers, you will have laid out your church’s context and will be able to gather the following insights:
- What understandings are gained regarding your church’s counts and containers of:
- Worship center capacity
- Bible study / Sunday school capacity
- Site considerations
- Acreage – Is your church’s property optimally used, and are all city requirements met?
- Parking capacity – Does the parking lot fit your congregation and allow for smooth ingress and egress?
- Bible study capacity – Is there adequate space for each age group?
- Worship capacity – Does the sanctuary allow for a practical amount of space for each person?
- Financial capacity
- Evangelistic impact
- What do the counts and containers reveal about your church’s strengths and limitations?
- How do the existing facilities need to be expanded or reconfigured?
After gathering the insights above, the church should interpret them as follows:
- Where are we ‘located’ as a church in relationship to our community?
- What are the key characteristics of our surrounding community?
- Is our surrounding community changing or stagnant?
- Is our church adapting to the changing community around us?
- Do our congregation demographics represent the community demographics?
- Has our church effectively catered to the community’s unique characteristics?
- What are the limitations of our church site? Location, facilities, and capabilities.
Finally, the church will answer the following conclusion questions:
- What insights have you gained about the contextual relevancy of your church?
- What is the next step related to the context of your church?
Help your church prepare for its next step in partnership with the Baptist Church Loan Corporation. Next Step Partnership is a BCLC-funded service provided for growing churches that are seeking perspective and insight regarding how they are currently positioned and what their potential future steps might be. This service is particularly valuable for churches that foresee the need of repurposing their culture, strategy, or facilities. Click here for more information about Next Step Partnership.
Authored By: Lowell Ashby, Next Step Partnership Specialist