Commercial real estate site/location consultants are highly skilled in their analysis of business locations for retail stores and restaurants. Church leaders considering new church starts, relocations, or even evaluating existing locations can benefit from the knowledge, experience, and systematic approaches used by real estate professionals.
One of the main results of the recent General Conference is the
establishment of the four denominational areas of emphasis. The second
on the list is congregational development and new church starts.
Many churches are making an effort to turn around decline or to move from stagnation to growth. Some growing churches are attempting to continue that trend and even increase it. In all their efforts, a variety of approaches are used, with most cases centering around the question, “what can we do?”
Every year the Research Office presents the latest (2006) UMC (USA)
official church statistics. Generally this yearly report sounds much
like previous year’s and this year is no exception. Membership change
has not deviated notably from the pattern of the last four decades.
As General Conference fast approaches, we are reminded of the four
focus areas which will be emphasized there. One of these is
As we start the New Year, business executives often reflect on what
lies ahead and how best to navigate the times. Church leaders can find
this productive as well. Of course, understanding the times is
challenge. This year promises presidential elections, economic
uncertainty, challenging energy prices, ongoing terror concerns, to name
The news commentary around the official kick-off of the “holiday”
shopping season on Black Friday was all about how much consumers would
spend. The immediate contrast with the real meaning of the season is
The mainline church continues to have much discussion around the
reasons for, and implications of, the decline. Of course, this is all
multifaceted, but at least one segment is leaving because they are not
finding what they are looking for and are looking elsewhere.
Ray Kroc, famed McDonald’s hamburger executive, was once lecturing an MBA class and asked them what business he was in. The expected answer was hamburgers. He was quick to point out that the real business he was in was real estate.
Rodrick Gilbert, house church leader in north India, tells of two approaches to reproduction found in the animal kingdom.
Churches can sometimes learn from business how to minister more
effectively. One such case is in applying ethnography. An article in
the August 2007 United Airlines magazine, Hemispheres entitled
Redefining Research defines ethnography as the study and systematic
recording of human cultures.
The title of this newsletter suggests that data informs much of the
content of the monthly report. This month will be a unique variation on
the theme insofar as it will present how churches, districts, and
conferences can obtain relevant data so that they can under gird their