When a congregation is ready to begin a pastor calling process the first step is often to conduct a church mission study. Ideally mission studies help congregations have conversations about:
the congregation's identity, shared values, and hopes
the community's demographics, needs, and missional opportunities
the staff culture and organizational needs, and
the desired pastoral leadership traits and skills.
Often an Appreciative Inquiry Model is used in conducting the study in order to capture and articulate the congregation's identity, shared values, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes a consultant is hired to help conduct, research, or write components of the study. Congregational survey tools can be quite helpful as well. The right combination of resources depends on the history, unique needs, and current challenges faced lack of vitality, financial strain, or divisive issues in the life of the congregation.
Snap shots of membership, finances, worship attendance and other key indicators of church life are worth conveying. Marketing the desirable features of the locale is also wise.
The completed Mission Study may be widely circulated, posted on the church website, utilized by the PNC in writing the Mission Information Form (a church's resume) and shared with potential pastoral candidates. Ultimately, the mission study serves as a guide to church leaders and the newly called pastor as they together develop fresh vision and plans for the future.
To read a recent mission study published by West Side Presbyterian Church (Seattle) using the Congregational Assessment Tool by Holy Cow! Consulting click the link or contact the church.