What if I told you that the credit agencies had created demographic and behavioral profiles on nearly every American household. Would that surprise you? What if that personal information was being sold to companies to create a marketing strategy that they know you are likely to fall for? Unfortunately, all these things are true. It is called the Mosaic system and is used by the majority of Fortune 500 level companies. Data is now the most valuable resource in the world, even surpassing oil. While it may make us uncomfortable knowing organizations have 1000’s of data points about us, we must ask ourselves the question as church leaders… How can this resource be used for good and redeemed for The Kingdom?
What Are Mosaics?
Before we decide if this kind of information can be used to grow The Kingdom we need to have a better understanding of what Mosaics are in the first place. Mosaics are defined by Experian as a consumer segmentation system with profiles on over 126,000,000 households across over 800 different lifestyle and interest attributes. Mosaics are broken into 19 different groups made up by 71 individual “Mosaic types”. Each of us reading this article would fall into one of these Mosaic types based on our demographics, behavior trends, and preferences. The system seeks to provide a multi-dimensional view of a household taking into account multiple socio-economic and life stage factors. In the graphic below you can view a sampling of some of these factors used to determine what mosaic you fall in.
How Are Mosaics Utilized in Commercial Sectors?
So how are companies using this information right now? Have you ever gotten an ad for something you were just talking about? It is pretty common for us to question if our phone or computer is listening to our conversations when this happens. The truth is perhaps a little more uncomfortable. Our devices are not listening to us in order to serve us ads to products we are interested in. The reality is that Mosaics work so well that companies are able to predict and anticipate your behavior, thus you see an ad for a product at the perfect time. The ad more than likely is shown on a platform you use frequently and may even have messaging tailored to you. All this is because of mosaic data. Through mosaics companies can get not just extreme clarity on who their target market is but, also what the media and communication preferences of these potential customers are so that they can create the perfect ad with the right messaging, on the best platform, delivered at the best time through a channel and in a style that they know the potential customer will likely prefer. This leads to much higher conversions and sales.
How Can We Use Mosaics in The Church
Sales conversions are one thing, but how can we use this data for “spiritual conversions”? The application for The Church is enormous! Organizations like Kingdom Analytics and MissionInsite have done a tremendous amount of work in translating commercial mosaic data to be church specific. Through this system it is now possible to understand things that would have been impossible to know previously. Details like what are the spoken and unspoken ministry needs of our community, what are the religious beliefs of our community, who are we reaching and not reaching with our church, how can we better reach and serve our community, what are the unique gifts of our congregation, giving potential, sermon topics, beliefs about the church, reasons for not attending church, preferences, about worship, small groups, church design, and much more. I always joke, but it is true, you can get all the way down to details like what kind of coffee will our congregation prefer after service. By overlaying spiritual and church data on top of these mosaics we unlock a whole new world of endless ways to use this information in our churches.
This creates an opportunity like never before for a church to truly understand and serve the needs of the community. It also provides extreme clarity on what people in the community and even the congregation itself are looking for in The Church. This can act as a playbook for church leadership teams to design the perfect guest experience for first time attendees. The catch here is, this kind of information is what these people are “looking for” in a church not necessarily what the church should do. While there may be hundreds of things the church can do that will align with their mission and calling some preferences of mosaics in the community such as “an open bar after service” may not align (yes we have seen that).
We can find biblical examples for the use of data, Jesus loved data! Jesus went through crowds everywhere he went proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, analyzing and healing the needs of the people in each community. Jesus did have an advantage we do not have of being able to know their hearts. However, with the information available today we are closer than ever to knowing this. How can we be like Jesus and serve the needs we discover in our own communities? Need another example? Paul taught according to the cultural preferences and understanding of the people he was speaking to. In Israel he would reference Jewish history, in Athens… poetry, and in non-religious Lystra… nature. Never compromising on the truth of The Word just presenting it in a way to be able to best convey its meaning to those listening. How might this look in your church today? Still looking for more biblical evidence? We can even look to the Old Testament in 1 Chronicles with The Tribe of Issachar and it’s leaders “understanding the signs of the times” and knowing the best course of action for Israel to take. This is exactly what we are trying to do here today. What are the “signs of the times” in our community and based off of that information what is the best course of action for us as a church to take? Where is God moving in our community and how can we be a part of that?
Data is just information and information inspires and often requires action. I would challenge The Church to view this information as a resource that has been given to us, steward it according to its value, and to take action on the information rather than bury it or hide from it.
How to Find out the Mosaics in your Community
Wondering how to access this information so you can start acting on it? There is an abundance of great resources available. MissionInsite and Kingdom Analytics are two great options. MissionInsite is a platform through ACS Technologies that will allow you to dive in on your own and create many different kinds of reports on your community and congregation. Many churches may already have access to this resource through your denomination. Kingdom Analytics has worked with hundreds of churches around the country to do the research for you, analyze the data, and walk your church through the findings.
If your church or denomination has a subscription to MissionInsite, just follow these steps below.
MissionInsite 7 Steps to Discovering the Mosaics in your Community:
Step 1: Log into your account and locate your church on the Map
Step 2: Click the “Shapes” button at the bottom of your screen
Step 3: From the “Travel Polygon” section, enter your church address or select it on the map
Step 4: Determine the appropriate study area this may vary from a 10-25 minute drive based on your church and location. Then hit the “Draw” button
Step 5: Once the Drive Time Radius is created click the “Demographics” button at the bottom
Step 6: Go to the predefined report section and select FullInsite, then click generate report
Step 7: Open the report and scroll down to page 24 to view the Mosaics in your community. There are additional resource links on that page to further explain each Mosaic.
If you do not already have a MissionInsite subscription you still have a couple of options to get this data.
- Get a MissionInsite subscription
- Purchase the MissionInsite FullInsite Report
- Sign Up for a Free Consultation with Kingdom Analytics:
How to find out the Mosaics in your Church
There is a lot that can be learned from understanding the Mosaic types present in your congregation. Perhaps the most important thing to learn is who you are as a church and understand who you are and are not reaching in your community. A helpful practice once you understand the mosaics in the community is to compare how your congregation is similar and different from your community. This can be done via the steps below.
MissionInsite 10 Steps to Discovering the Mosaics in your Church:
Step 1: Log into your account and locate your church on the Map
Step 2: On the Home tab, scroll down and select “people upload”
Step 3: Download the congregant upload template
Step 4: Copy and paste your church congregation address into the template (ideally with those households you know are still members of your church)
Step 5: Choose the file and import it into the system
Step 6: Give the system an hour or so to process, then select the “Plotting” button at the bottom of the page
Step 7: Select your church and hit plot
Step 8: Create your study area as we demonstrated above
Step 9: Click the demographics button – predefined reports tab – Select ComparativeInsite report
Step 10: This report will compare your congregation to the community on several demographic levels it will also show and compare the mosaic types represented in your congregation to those of the community.
Still Need Help?
While there is a vast amount of data you can learn from understanding the Mosaics in your community and congregation, it is just the tip of the iceberg in the data that is available to you today. Our work at Kingdom Analytics has allowed us to serve over 400 churches across the country better understand and reach their communities through access to thousands of data points on nearly every American household through great resources like MissionInsite. Please feel free to reach out to either of our teams to get the clarity you need on your community and congregation so you can make wise decisions in your church and grow The Kingdom.
Andrew Esparza is the founder of Kingdom Analytics. This company has served over 300+ organizations doing good in the world by helping better connect them to their community, congregation, or customers using advanced demography research. He also has experience in the church world working for the largest high school ministry in the country at North Point Community Church. Andrew graduated from Arizona State University with degrees in Design Management and Tourism Development and is CITI certified in Social and Behavioral Research.