Understanding the people you’re ministering to is critical when sharing the Gospel. Few know this better than Jim Goddard. Jim spent several years as a United Methodist minister before turning to consulting to share his knowledge of demographics with churches and conferences across the US.
“Every single church is unique because every congregation is different, and every geographic area is different,” Jim says. “And that’s where MissionInsite comes in. It helps the congregation who generally have no idea about the makeup of the people around them get a glimpse of who’s there and the potential for ministry in their area.”
First introduced to MissionInsite as a seminary student serving two churches at once, Jim discovered the necessity of understanding one’s community and using demographic information in ministry.
“In every single situation where I find myself in ministry, the first thing that I do is get them started with MissionInsite,” Jim says. “It helps them to get to know the community.”
Jim recalled one church he worked with that overcame a significant generational and wage gap accompanied by a physical divide created by a major road through the community.
After using MissionInsite to identify the demographics of the people in their town, the church developed two different ministry styles to meet the needs of two very unique age groups.
“This was the first time I’ve ever seen a place that was actually split along a major road. It was really strange, but the church realized where they were, and they developed ministries for each side of the road,” Jim says. “If a church is going to reach out to their communities, they’ve got to tailor the specific ministries to the group of people they are surrounded by. The demographics helped this church do that.”
On the other end of the spectrum was a storefront ministry that specifically served the poor and homeless. Jim helped them look at the demographic information for the neighborhood immediately adjacent to the church and began identifying ministry potential.
With the demographic details of their community in hand, that church has been thriving for nearly 10 years. They took the guesswork out of their ministry efforts.
“If you don’t know who’s around your church or you assume they’re just like everybody inside the building, then you never reach out to them and never make a difference,” Jim says.