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Come and See New Beginnings Assessment

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  1. Come and See New Beginnings Assessment David Schoen

  2. Welcome! Through New Beginnings Assessment Service, the Presbyterian Church USA, the United Church of Christ and HOPE Partnership (DOC) work together to ensure that all our congregations and leaders are well-equipped to make BOLD decisions for ministry in this new era of mission.

  3. Poll Our church has more dreams than memories. Our church has more memories than dreams. Our worship service is innovative. Our worship service is reverent. We mostly know the neighbors around our church. Neighbors around our church are strangers to us. People over 50 outnumber people under 50. People under 50 outnumber people over 50.

  4. Christianity in North America is experiencing a major shift! “Every 500 years, the Church of God undergoes a rummage sale.”

  5. Congregations are experiencing this shift in different ways • Declining attendance & membership • New people who may not want to participate in ways we’re used to • Changing demographics in the community • Empty or under-used rooms in our church buildings • “Tried-and-true” ministries don’t work as well


  6. More and more churches are becoming unsustainable • Using money from investments, endowments or property sale to support the budget. • Renting space to various groups. Mission of the church becomes that of “landlord.” • Annual budget cuts. • Reducing pastoral staff from full-time to part-time. • Concern about survival or “keeping the doors open.” • Same people do the same jobs every year.

  7. A Simple Congregational Lifecycle

  8. A church develops different elements at different points Administration Programs Intimacy Energy

  9. A church also loses elements in fairly predictable pattern Administration Energy/Vision Loss Programs Intimacy Loss Intimacy Program Loss Energy ? ? ? ?

  10. Dividing the lifecycle into quadrants Recline Decline Incline

  11. Are we still sustainable? Sustainable 2 3 1 4 Not Sustainable

  12. Without an intervention, the avg. congregation lives 60-80 yrs Closure

  13. When a church declines, anxiety goes up & we focus on survival

  14. But a completely new thing is required! New Beginnings helps you see the new thing that is emerging

  15. But a completely new thing is required!

  16. But a completely new thing is required!

  17. New Beginnings Assessment Service • A tool to help congregations find new life and reinvent themselves for God’s mission

  18. Where is New Beginnings best suited? • Income is not covering expenses • Empty spaces in the building and/or too many empty pews • Neighborhood around the church has changed • Members are growing tired and slowing down • Church needs a “jumpstart” • Church is in transition or interim

  19. What does New Beginnings observe and measure? • Your facility’s visitor attractiveness • Powerful up-to-date demographic and psychographic info about your community • Gaps between the church and community • Trends in attendance, giving & expenses • Online presence • Strengths of the congregation • Needs in the community

  20. An example of people groups near the church - MissionInsite

  21. What does New Beginnings do? • Provides a clear process to follow • Brings everyone on the same page about what’s really happening in the church and community • Helps the church understand the people of the community and their ministry needs • Helps your congregation make a BOLD decision for the future

  22. What are people saying? • “We were fortunate to get some truly invested facilitators and we were all very impressed with the training weekend. The trainers were great, the pace was lively, the material dealt with real issues, and the process was well thought out. The added incentive was the promise of an assessment of our church done by outsiders,” Rev. Ruby Easton, Andover MA. • "What this process does that is different is that it doesn’t leave any stone unturned. You have to ask yourself some very difficult questions. It’s not some dandy new mission statement for the back page of the bulletin. It’s changing the attitude and understanding of how we do church. The big change [for us] is a willingness to experiment with outreach, to connect with the community and bringing the church into the community in ways we’ve never done before." Rev. Jill Graham, First Congregational Church of Sheffield, MA

  23. What kind of BOLD decision? • To stay in the neighborhood and more effectively reach the people of the community • OR, to move to a more financially-sustainable facility • OR, to launch a new ministry that reaches people in new ways • OR, . . .

  24. What kind of BOLD decision? Examples: 1- Redefine mission inside out – Santa Cruz 2- Reach new population -- Sheffield 3- Relocate -- Elyria 4 - Sell and restart - West Medford 5- Start a new congregation - New Orleans 6- Create new church/community space - Westwood 7- Leave a legacy – Pittsburgh

  25. What kind of BOLD decision? • “New Beginnings was transformational for our congregation. as a result of the church’s participation in New Beginnings, they were able to see why they were not ‘visible’ in the community and what type of missions they needed to create to meet the needs of their community and thus become a vital part of their immediate community. The Circle Church now has a very large homeless ministry - something we never expected to be a part of but something that was revealed through New Beginnings. This was God’s path for The Circle Church and New Beginnings merely helped us all see God's plan – which was the best part of the program.This church has grown in this community.”Pastor Steve Defields-Gambrel, The Circle Church, CA

  26. Elements of New Beginnings • Assessment Visit (one day) • Leader Training (Friday & Saturday) • House and Small Group Gatherings (six weeks) • Bold Decision Made

  27. The Assessment Visit • One hour property tour to view the building, inside & out • One hour “windshield tour” to observe your ministry habitat • 45 min. meeting with financial officer(s) • Discussion about church calendar • “No host” dinner with pastor, 1-2 lay leaders and Conference/Association Minister • Appreciative Inquiry session with congregation

  28. The Leaders’ Retreat • Weekend retreat with other New Beginnings congregations in the area • For 8-12 of your lay leaders • Review of the Assessment Report • Training for small group gatherings • Network with other church leaders

  29. The House and Small Group Gatherings • Involves 50% of the congregation in discernment and decision-making • Led by lay people (who attend the Leader Retreat) • Six week process • Leads your church to make a bold decision

  30. New Beginnings Timeline Whole process takes 4-6 months • Come & See Event Sept. 19/20, 2015 • Complete Application Oct. 16, 2015 • Assessments Nov. 30–Dec. 11, 2015 • Leader Training Winter 2016 • House Meetings six weeks, led by church leaders – Winter/Lent 2016 • Bold Decision in 2016

  31. New Beginnings Cost • Includes all assessment travel, reports, manuals • Cost reduced by working in a “cluster” • Cost reduced by Conference and National Investment For UCC congregations: • Cost is $2,800 per church • Invoiced in 2015

  32. New Beginnings Application Send by Friday, Oct. 16 • Mail, fax or email to:

  33. Questions?

  34. For More Information Contact Karen Koza, Administrative Assistant 216-736-3837 kozak@ucc.org ucc.org/new-beginnings Whatisourfuturestory.com

  35. Thank You! Thank you for your Leadership to make the bold decision for a New Beginning in your congregation! Thank you! Your financial support is Changing Lives: That’s Our Churches’ Wider Mission