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Diocese Uses Data for Parish Mission Planning

Location: Greenbay, Wisconsin
Denomination: Catholic

Founded: 1868
Parishes: 156

Reports used:
American Beliefs Study
Executive Insight

History

The Diocese of Green Bay was founded in 1868 and serves 324,000 Catholics in sixteen counties across Wisconsin. The diocese has grown tremendously since its inception but continues to adhere to its mission of fostering households and communities of discipleship through the mission and ministry of the Catholic Church.

Challenge

In 2017, parishes across the diocese were experiencing a decline in attendance and parishioner engagement. Diocesan leaders surveyed parish leaders to understand what was happening, then shared the results with parishioners and invited input on areas of potential growth. A clear area of opportunity was mission planning.

Solution

In 2018, Bishop Ricken laid out a strategic guide for schools and parishes in the Diocese of Green Bay based on a commitment to the New Evangelization through a focus on Missionary Discipleship. One of the key resources is a workbook for parish mission planning that uses MissionInsite data about parishioners and the surrounding community to help identify opportunities for evangelization and service.

The diocese loaded the boundaries and parishioner information for all the parishes into MissionInsite so parish leaders can see the geographic reach of the parish and information about who comprises the parish. MissionInsite also has tools to compare this information to everyone else in the community. This helps parish leaders gain insight into how well the parish is serving the community, what changes they might need to make in parish ministry, and where there are opportunities for outreach and evangelization. 

One parish achieved a 49% increase in Mass attendance year over year by using data from MissionInsite as input to their mission plan. MissionInsite also aided the schools in the diocese to assess potential school locations and long-term viability. MissionInsite helped to remove the guesswork from the planning process by providing meaningful information about the needs and life situations of the people in the community.

“We’re trying to get them to think about not just who’s in your pews but think about where you’re at. And for those that want to even go further, we show them the income distribution, occupation, ethnicity and other information. By showing them insight from MissionInsite, it changed the direction of the conversations”

– Barry Metzentine, Parish Operations and Mission Planning Director

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