It all started when…
Includes all the elements of a Level 2 consult, concluding with multiple on-site, follow up visits during the year after the report is presented. Those visits typically occur once a quarter for one year.
Because most churches are interested in a Level 2 comprehensive consultation, I will focus on that level. Though we can never know fully what we will do at the onset of a strategic relationship, I do know some bare minimums that we would seek to accomplish during our time with your church.
- A thorough understanding of the communities that your church serves. We would ask you to submit to us the parameters of your ministry field, and we, or another service if one is available for no cost, would prepare and analyze a demographic study of that area.
- A thorough analysis of the attendance and giving patterns of your church, with a view to determine the implications of the past and future growth for the church. You would need to provide for us the church’s attendance and financial records for the last ten years.
- An analysis of the current physical facilities and acreage, with a view to see the adequacy of the present campus for future growth. We would ask you to provide a visual layout of the current property, including current room usages.
- A survey of the church’s perceived health, using the Church Health Survey. You would need to enlist a cross-representation of a minimum 15% of your active attenders and have them complete the survey no later than three weeks prior to our coming to the church. We would deliver the surveys to you via the postal service, and someone in your church would need to administer the survey. The instructions for doing so are quite simple.
- A further review of the church’s perceived health, based on multiple interviews with your current staff, selected lay leaders and active members. Most likely, we would interview 15-20 lay leaders and active members, in addition to your current staff. These lay people would preferably be persons other than those who had taken the Church Health Survey.
- An assessment of current programs and ministries, with a view to recommend any potential additions and deletions. Our ultimate goal is to help you develop a strategic plan to guide your church in becoming all that God intends for you to be.
- An analysis of your Sunday morning worship services and small groups, if applicable. Typically, we complete this step by sending in a “guest” (that is, a spy) who writes for us a verbatim of his/her experience as a guest at your church. In many cases, this information is most eye-opening for the church.
- A workshop with leadership to define and develop core competencies for church members and a strategic vision plan.
- On site visits by our consultants, including myself, as needed to conduct the interviews, complete the facility analysis, and meet with appropriate leadership.
- A full written report that includes the Church Health Survey findings, the demographic study, the facilities and acreage analysis, and all of our team’s recommendations. We prepare one full report for the church and an executive summary of the report for any persons you wish to receive a copy. In most cases, the report is about 100 pages in length.
- At your request, a presentation of the final report to the persons that you choose. In the past, we have made presentations to the executive team, committee members, or the entire congregation.
The cost for a comprehensive consultation, including a final reporting visit will be determined before a final agreement is reached. Items such as whether we must charge for a community demographic study or not, and contextual trip expenses will need to be factored first. This cost proposal and agreement will be all-inclusive, including our team’s expenses. As stated above, no hidden or extra costs will be added unless you change or add some aspect of the consultation proposal.
Should you choose to do this consultation, your leaders would need to secure the following items for our team:
- The last ten years’ records of the church’s growth patterns: worship attendance, the number of active family units currently attending worship, small group attendance, other worship, and training attendances if applicable, resident membership, total membership, membership addition and deletion numbers (The additions should be categorized as transfer or conversion, using the terminology most customary in your congregation).
- The last ten years’ financial giving numbers. Please give both designated and undesignated figures.
- Debt structure and description
- The last five annual budgets.
- A copy of your constitution and by-laws.
- A history summarizing significant events in the church within the past 25 years, both positive and negative.
- Recent copies of publications such as newsletters and church bulletins.
- The boundaries of the “community” of the church. You can give us zip codes, census tracts, a radius from the church (no more than 10 miles normally unless you are truly a regional church), or simply a map with the area that your church reaches or should reach. We need the area that most accurately depicts where church members live and where the church building is. We will use that defined community to discover trends and issues about the people within the area. If there is a free service available to you through the denomination, we will work with you to get them to do the demographic study to save cost.
- A list of all ministry staff, full-time and part-time. Please indicate by “FT” or “PT.” If they are part time, indicate the number of hours they work each week. Include their job descriptions and any personnel policy manuals.
- A list of the key leadership groups: elders, deacons, strategic planning group, etc.
- If available, a drawing of the current structure, including worship and educational facilities and their respective attendance capacities.
- A statement about the amount of acreage that the church owns, being certain to specify if any of the acreage is unusable.
- A description of available parking, including a list of the number of parking spaces.
- A list of key laypersons you think we should interview. This list should include 15-20 of the most significant adult voices in the church. Attempt to provide a cross-section of ages, gender, length of time in the church, etc. We will schedule the interviews later.
Generally, this type of comprehensive consultation requires about six months. If your church wishes to move forward, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be in touch very quickly. We would next coordinate a phone call, determine possible timing, submit to you an official proposal, and then a final agreement to be signed. We would quickly move forward with this process once an agreed upon timeframe is established.
Also, please always feel free to email us if you have any questions. We would love to hear from you! May God continue to bless your work!