Measuring Mission Project

“Measuring Mission Project”

Healthier Congregations Team, “Tools and Training” Working Group

History

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 135-page workbook, Activating Your Missional Congregation, in a pilot study of eight, three -hour workshops, with five congregations of the Presbytery of Genesee Valley. Each workshop was concluded with an evaluation.

Results

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.”

Future

Five additional congregations are now being recruited to participate in a second round of the eight-workshop, one-year, missional assessment study using the workbook.   Guided by Frohman and Evinger, and with the involvement of “graduate” pastors of the pilot study, each congregation will research and assess their own congregation’s missional practices using the 6 assessment guidelines of the workbook: identity, vitality, process, motivation, context, and toxicity vs. development.

The participating congregations will gather at a common location on eight selected Saturday’s over 12 months (2017-2108) to participate in plenary and breakout sessions regarding the assessment guidelines of the workbook. Each participant and each team will conduct individual and group research, about each’s congregation and community, and report back to the next workshop about their findings. In the final workshop, #8, each team will present its mission development plan for the future of their congregation. Frohman and Evinger, and the “graduate” pastors, will continue to be in consultation with the congregations over a one-year period of time while they implement their plans.

As the pilot congregations have done, the five new teams will be 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.

Administration

The program is supervised by the Healthier Congregations Team, Tools and Training Working Group, which is staffed by Susan Orr, Presbyter for Healthy Congregations / Stated Clerk.

 

Contact:

Rev. Roderic P. (Rod) Frohman (HR)
585-727-26786
[email protected]

Rev. James S. (Jim) Evinger  (HR)
585-773-9468
[email protected]