Faith Communities Today
New Fact Information
In response to the statement, "My congregation has a clear sense of mission and purpose," about 55% of Adventist pastors say that this "very well" or "quite well" describes their local church. The rest report this is "somewhat" true or that there is little or no sense of mission in their congregation. This information comes from research done as part of the Faith Communities Today (FACT) survey.
What one thinks of these findings may be the classic example of the two kinds of people in the world: those who think the glass is half full and those who think it is half empty. A little more than half of local churches have a strong mission focus, while almost half have a weak mission focus.
Often this situation is condemned as the result of "creeping worldliness," or ambiguity about doctrine, or just plain laziness. Yet, in all their visits and interviews with local churches, Center for Creative Ministry consultants rarely find a congregation that is simply not interested in clarifying and strengthening its mission.
Other factors may erode clarity and focus of mission. The context in which many local churches operate has changed significantly with new generations—more diversity, more education, urbanization—yet the denomination provides little help in re-defining mission for the changing context. Mission is often defined with terms that don’t fit present realities. No wonder congregations are baffled!
1. To what extent is the following statement true in our congregation? Is it very true, quite true, somewhat true, largely untrue or not at all true that our local church has a clear sense of mission and purpose. [Compare answers with the national survey.]
2. What are the most important things that our local church does for its members and the community?
3. If our church were a tool that you were buying at the hardware store and your 12-year-old son asked you, "What do you need that for?" or "What are you going to do with that?" what would you tell him?4. If a consultant were to interview the 10 top civic leaders in our community and ask them, "What does the _____ ________ Church contribute to this community?" What answers would she get?
New FACT Information, Center for Creative Ministry