January 31, 2013
By Phil Maynard
Discovering the Possibilities
(MAPS – Ministry Action Potential Study)
A study of missional opportunities for the local church
The Discovering the Possibilities is a facilitated process designed to assist congregational leaders understanding the realities of their ministry context and current ministries, and to begin discerning possibilities for their future in ministry. We believe that every congregation has the potential to be faithful and fruitful in ministry. Statistics are clear, however, that this is not the current reality for many of our congregations. Discovering the Possibilities is a process designed to give congregations a realistic sense of what fulfilling their ministry potential might mean.
A Leadership Team will be identified by the pastor in consultation with the facilitator and key church leaders. The Leadership Team will be responsible for working with the facilitator behind the scenes throughout study and assisting in preparation of the final report.
During an initial meeting with key leaders, the facilitator will give leaders a list of information to be gathered including: bulletins, newsletters, financial reports, vision & mission statements, charge conference reports, a facility walk-through, Missional Vital Signs (worship participation, professions of faith, number of people in small discipling groups, and giving) for the current year and the last 10 years, the church profile, an Excel list of members and address (for developing a congregational plot), a calendar of church activities, information about their current ministries and key issues facing the congregation. This information will be gathered and presented to the facilitator before the Current Realities Workshop.
The Discovering the Possibilities Workshop is a 6-hour event (it can be offered as a series of mini-workshops) that includes two distinct parts:
Current Realities Workshop(s): Includes interviews regarding “best practices” in each of 5 disciple making practices. Participants will then be involved in creating a visual history of the congregation called a Journey Wall. Participants also review and process the material leaders gathered regarding missional vital signs, current ministries, leadership, and facilities
Ministry Opportunities Workshop(s): Participants examine together demographic information for their ministry context. They will then begin to identify mission opportunities: given the mission of “making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world,” given the current congregation with its history, ministries and assets, and given the ministry opportunities in their ministry context – what might Christ be calling them to do as a congregation? Finally, they will explore through asset mapping the resources God has provided them for use in ministry
Discovering the Possibilities Report:
The congregation’s leadership team and facilitator will assemble a written report capturing the findings of their work together. In addition to summarizing findings in an easy-to-understand fashion, the Report will also suggest possible options for consideration by the congregation’s leaders as they seek to live into their ministry potential. Finally, the Report will be shared by the leadership team with the whole congregation for their discernment and decision regarding next steps.
Some Conferences have found it helpful to provide facilitator training for leadership in the Discovering the Possibilities process. This training can be designed to meet your needs but typically includes an orientation to the process, participation in an actual Discovering the Possibilities workshop with a congregation, and the development of the written report to the congregation.