Measuring Mission Project
Activating Your Missional Congregation
“Measuring Mission Overview”
Healthier Congregations Team, “Tools and Training” Working Group
In the Fall of 2014, Rev. James Evinger and Rev. Roderic Frohman, decided to apply their combined 90 years of experience in managing the social justice/service programs of congregations in the form of a workbook of best practices. Why? Because most congregations are willing to engage the community, but their efforts are mostly toxic to the beneficiaries, as well as their efforts burn-out their church volunteers because of poor internal administrative, diagnostic, personnel and spiritual practices.
From January 2015 to July 2017 Frohman and Evinger field-tested their 277-page workbook, Measuring Mission: Activating Your Missional Congregation, in a pilot study of nine, three -hour workshops, with six congregations of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley. Each workshop was concluded with an evaluation. The congregations were Covington United Presbyterian Church, Pavilion, NY; First Presbyterian Church, Chili, NY; First Presbyterian Church, Batavia, NY; , Central Presbyterian Church, Geneseo, NY; First Presbyterian Church, Pittsford, NY; and Third Presbyterian Church, Rochester, NY.
There were a number of tangible benefits for the participants.
Deeper communication: “In my six years here as the Pastor, this is the most honest and open discussion of mission in our congregation that I’ve seen. It gives me new possibilities.”
Insight: “I think we really started to ‘get it’ by the end of the 6th workshop. It does take time to absorb and trust this process.”
Significance: “We provide two buildings for use by non-profit groups serving our town. We charge each $1/year to make it legal. Until this discussion, we never considered that our in-kind support had significant dollar value.”
Identification of a barrier: “I look at all our many mission projects and the high percentage of our members that volunteer. No wonder we are tired and no wonder it’s hard for each project to find new volunteers!”
Awareness of volunteer motivation: “As we interviewed people about their motivations to do mission, we realized how different those motivations are [from what we expected].”
Paradigm shift: “As a result of this series, I see mission in a whole new perspective.”
2019 – Round 2
Two additional congregations participated in a second round of the nine-workshop, one-year, missional assessment study using the workbook. Guided by Frohman and Evinger, each congregation researched and assessed their own congregation’s missional practices using the six assessment guidelines of the workbook: identity, vitality, process, motivation, context, and toxicity vs. development. These congregations: were Irondequoit Presbyterian Church, Irondequoit, NY and First Presbyterian Church of LeRoy, NY. The LeRoy congregation paused their work and resumed it in November of 2020 to finish in early 2021.
Each participant and each team conducts individual and group research, about each’s congregation and community, and reports back to the next workshop about their findings. In the final workshop each team presents its mission development plan for the future of their congregation. Frohman and Evinger will continue to be in consultation with the congregations over a one-year period of time, following the completion of the workshop course, while they implement their plans.
As the first six pilot congregations have done, the new teams are being urged to:
- end a lesser quality social mission project;
- revitalize, expand, or improve an existing project;
- start a new project or combine several existing ones;
- celebrate and promote an existing project which is working well;
- Find a way to go beyond short-term, crisis relief.
2020 Round 3
York United Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Albion, NY joined Round 3 of the workshop series. York completed the series in October of 2020. Unfortunately, Albion had to stop the series when 3 members of their six-member team became seriously ill.
2021 Round 4
Summerville Presbyterian Church of Irondequoit, NY is the one congregation in Round 4. Their Session has signed a covenant (required of all participating congregations) and began the series on January 16, 2021.
2022 Round 5
The next round of workshops is scheduled to start after Easter, 2022. Call Rod Frohman (below) to inquire about scheduling a one hour Zoom overview of this series with your congregation.
The program is supervised by the Healthier Congregations Team, Tools and Training Working Group, which is staffed by Susan Orr, transitional Presbytery leader.
- Rev. Roderic P. (Rod) Frohman (HR)
- Rev. James S. (Jim) Evinger (HR)