Discovering the Possibilities
The Discovering the Possibilities process is being used by Conference leadership across the country to help congregations understand what it takes to do effective ministry in their community. It is a tool that is not limited by geographical boundaries (e.g. New England, Virginia, SW Texas, Florida, Minnesota). The principles are universal, and what works in the southwest is equally effective in the northeast – in fact, one of the most exciting aspects of this process is the way the general principles can be tailored to specific geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic environments.
Discovering the Possibilities is a facilitated process designed to assist congregational leaders in understanding of their current ministries and the context in which those ministries are being implemented, as well as in exploring the possibilities for future ministry. We believe that every congregation has the potential to be faithful and fruitful. 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, leaving plenty of space for the Holy Spirit to work.
Using a variety of tools – including congregational interviews, journey walls, the Real Discipleship Survey, missional vital signs data, facilities reviews, SCOT analysis, demographic studies (through Missioninsite), Asset Mapping, and the analysis of church budgets, communication tools, goals/action planning and statistical reports this process provides comprehensive insights into how the church works and what it would take to move forward in ministry.
Each Discovering the Possibilities process includes pre-work (data gathering/sample documents), a facilitated workshop (or series of mini-workshops), and preparation of a detailed report documenting the findings of the process, making recommendations for ministry development, and suggesting ways to support the implementation of those recommendations.
What others are saying about Discovering the Possibilities
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers! Actually, I think for myself and a few others this process [Discovering the Possibilities] has been a true gift, where we feel the load is now being shared by the whole church. And because of that, we’re hopefully God’s leading will be better heard and received! Come, Lord Jesus, come, indeed! (pastor, Virginia Conference, UMC)
I have been using this process now as a congregational developer responsible for church health and vitality in the New England Conference for nearly three years. One of first churches is a shining example of what’s possible. This church had been in decline for 15 years. Worship attendance was under 40. They were barely paying the bills never mind funding any sort of mission. Using Discovering the Possibilities process, they were able do an in-depth analysis of their congregation and the local community around them. The learnings from that study led to the congregation making significant changes in their approach to ministry, both in terms of their own spiritual development and in their building relationships in the community. Today, worship has more than doubled. They are financially stable. And more importantly, they are connecting with new people in new ways, making new disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. (Rev. Rick McKinley, Director of Congregational Development, New England Conference, UMC)