Once you have defined your community, the next step is uploading your congregation into your computer system. This crucial step, as shared in the recently published Comparing your Church Congregation To Your Community Guide, will enable you to correlate details about your community to the specific households via their updated addresses within your church. And this is why an updated address list matters for your church.
Before you take that next uploading step, look at what you have by exporting and printing the current list of all your congregants. Then review it against the following questions accompanied by an old school highlighter and maybe even a red pen:
- When was the last time your church updated your congregants’ information?
- Work carefully through your list to identify any known changes that need to be flagged:
- Who has moved (locally, abroad, college)?
- Who has recently been married or divorced, or widowed?
- Who has added to their family with a new baby?
- Who has passed away?
- Who has moved membership to another church?
- Who haven’t you recently seen on campus? Or, say, since pre-pandemic 2020?
- Who showed interest in your church but didn’t get connected?
- Have you merged your outreach, women’s bible study, and men’s Saturday breakfast lists (for example) to be included into one comprehensive list?
Make a plan
People are busy and stay busy. Families are on the go with after-school activities, sporting events, church events, and hopefully, carving in quality time together. Businesses have updated their policies enabling people to work from and set up offices at home. Perhaps someone can live in Georgia while technically working for a company in Washington. This is happening increasingly, which means people are moving, and the faces in your church congregations are changing.
Gone are the days of sending change of address notes, and often contact can be lost without anyone really noticing. Make a plan now, if there’s not one in place, to ask for quarterly contact updates moving forward- post this socially, add the request to your website with a form to make it easy for people, and share it alongside the announcements from the pulpit. This small step makes people feel part of the church and lets them know your connection matters.
What’s your reach?
To analyze your community and how to recruit church volunteers or even plan church events in the future, you need to know your congregation now. Simple information such as their home address is an insightful starting point as it helps you to discover your potential reach.
Imagine if you could see each congregation member’s household populate onto a map to tell you how much of your congregation is contained in your defined community if you are using the right definition for your community, where your congregation members are coming from, what areas of your community are not represented, and more. With recent church technology improvements, you can gain this great asset for your ministry to give you all the information you need to understand who you are as a church and how you compare to the community you are located in.
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Comparing your Church Congregation To Your Community
This guide is a diagnostic tool. It gives factual details about your community and congregation, along with strategies and tips to reach them better.
- How to define the boundaries of your community in a way that makes sense for your specific situation.
- A simple approach to plotting your congregation on a map so you can see where your church family lives.
- How to create a report that compares your church to the community in key demographic metrics.
Drake serves as an ACS Technologies Business Development Manager. He’s been with ACST for four years as a trusted advisor for clients and partners. He’s focusing on process improvement, leadership development, and metrics for success. Drake enjoys time with his family and participates in various roles at his church.