In 2004 Villanova University in Villanova, PA founded the Center for Church Management, the first higher education program focused on church management. The program was founded because many who are called to serve do not have a business or finance background and need knowledge, guidance, and tools to perform leadership and administrative roles in churches and parishes. The curriculum centers around guiding people, managing finances, and best practices for running a church or parish.
Villanova students are faced with the stark reality that church attendance and engagement continue to dwindle; religion is no longer a given in American lives. Leaders can no longer rely on their parish to be sustained by multi-generation families or people moving to the area. The vitality of a parish depends on evangelization, requiring a mental shift from caring for those who come to church to finding and caring for people and turning them into disciples.
A year ago, Villanova University began using MissionInsite, a community analytics tool that provides powerful demographic, socioeconomic, and religious preference information, to help leaders build an outreach strategy. MissionInsite is fed by multiple data sources like the US Census, Experian and a study on religious beliefs that paints a picture of what a community looks like today and what it will look like based on trends in the future.
Matt Manion incorporates MissionInsite into his organizational management class to illustrate the importance of data in strategic planning, stewardship, leadership placement, and catering ministry to your current and prospective members. Making the right investment in resources and programs, understanding the giving potential of your people, determining who the right leader is for your parish and surrounding community, communicating effectively, and adapting ministries to the needs of your people are crucial for building and sustaining a parish.
The Center For Church Management at Villanova University is shaping leaders to evangelize and create disciples, and MissionInsite helps them make informed, strategic decisions by showing them who is in their community and how to build messaging and outreach strategies to reach them.