Park United Methodist Church Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors
Park United Methodist Church            Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors


Equipping Missional Congregations

Transformational Processes

There are three similar but distinct transformational processes based on the size of the churches participating. They are:

Missional Journey: For churches under 100 in worship attendance

Healthy Church Initiative: For churches between 100 and 350 in worship attendance

Missional Church Initiative: For churches over 350 in worship attendance

What is the process?

The process to develop missional congregations is designed to renew churches. Our focus is on providing resources and strategies to church pastors, staff, laity, and congregations so they in turn will be able to connect people more meaningfully with Christ and become the church God wants them to be in their community. There are three main components to this process:

1: Learning
We believe that all church leaders (both pastors and laity) need to be in some form of continuous learning environment. The transformation process has leadership development sessions for pastors and laity to build a foundation of common understanding, motivations for change, and best practices. Each session includes elements such as leadership training, congregational development, teaching, action plans, and spiritual development.

2: Consultation 
Churches invite a team of trained consultants who visit their church to identify strengths and concerns and provide recommendations to address those areas of concern. These consultations involve elements such as community study, analysis of key data, interviews with leaders, focus groups, congregational training, mystery guest visits to worship, and more.

3: Coaching
Churches that accept the consultant recommendations will receive coaching to assist with implementation of the ministry plan and leadership development.


Tools Used in The Healthy Church Initiative:


The Minnesota Conference has a group subscription to the in-line demographic research and report service MissionInsite. This tool provides FREE 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.

Natural Church Development

Natural Church Development (NCD) provides paper 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. Cost is $190 for two reports; an additional $50 provides an interpretation session with a training consultant--in total a $500 value. A variety of resources are also available for moving the NCD reports from descriptive material to a foundation for strategic planning and implementation to address a congregation’s  “minimum factor.”

Imagine a barrel with eight staves, each representing the eight Quality Characteristics. The staves in the barrel only reach as high as the score of the characteristic. With this analogy, you can only fill the barrel to the level of the lowest stave. So to increase the capacity of the barrel, we must increase the height of the lowest stave. Now focusing on the Minimum Factor does not mean that we don’t pay attention to the other seven areas. As stated before, all eight characteristics are vitally important to healthy growing churches. Focusing on the Minimum Factors helps us to set timely priorities. Since all eight areas can’t be worked on with the same amount of energy and concentration, we need to find areas, which will yield the greatest long-range return on our investments. Remember, Minimum Factors can change quickly—especially when there is a conscious attempt to improve on this one area.

Mystery Guest Audit

In order to create a more welcoming atmosphere for first-time visitors, it's helpful to understand what they experience when they attend worship at your church. There are numerous options for churches wanting to do this:

Faith Perceptions: The research and marketing consulting company sends vetted "mystery guests" to worship services at a particular church over a period of several months, and those guests record their observations and impressions.



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