Analyze Your Community
- Define target area (i.e. school district, city, zip codes, mile radius)
- Gather demographics from defined area (median age, families/singles, races, socioeconomics, median income, primary jobs) See Church Toolbox
- List current community Christian Outreaches/Resources for this area (i.e. food banks, programs)
- Who are the stakeholders for this community?
Analyze Your Church
- Demographics of the church regulars - How do these compare to the demographics of the community?
- How many people who attend your church actually live/work in the target community?
- Primary jobs and connections to the community
- Who has the Lord been bringing recently? If this is the type person God is bringing, how could you cooperate with His activity?
- What is this church's reputation in the community (good, bad, or none)?
- What is your church excelling at, that your community is missing out on?
- Who in the community is most like us and could we best connect with? (i.e. blue collar, white collar, similar jobs, etc.) The gospel often flows rapidly along cultural lines (1 Cor. 9:20-22).
Assess Your Church's Current "Guest Friendliness"
- We highly recommend a "secret shopper" and/or outside voice to help with a real assessment of guest friendliness and readiness. Let us know if we can help with this. Most regular attenders become blind to items they see frequently (i.e. peeling paint, ancient signs) and information they already know (i.e. bathroom locations, pastor's name/identity).
- What are the first 60 seconds like for a guest in both phases: entering the parking lot and entering the door?
- Greeters and welcome - How well are they being greeted and seated? How is their guest information being collected (involve multiple sources)? How clear are the instructions for submitting a guest card? What is the guest gift and follow-up like here? Would a guest feel singled-out? Would a guest actually want the gift we give?
- Service/worship expectations - How will the guest know what they are "supposed" to do if they have never been to church before?
- Facilities - Curb appeal, signage, interior appeal (generational appeal, gender appeal, family appeal, kids appeal) Does it look like we love kids around here? Will kids think our children's facilities are appealing? (General rule - Ask if a 5th grade boy would like the room. If he does, most likely, all others will too.)
- Security/Peace Profile - Will a new parent approve of the children's check-in process? Are all the workers background checked and following safety protocols?
Research the Best Tools to Fit Your Unique Community
- From the previous discussion items, is there a particular group of people in the community that have come up repeatedly? What might be the best way to connect with them or serve them?
- See Church Toolbox list for a collection of ideas.
- What outreach/connection tool does our community most need?
- What outreach/connection tool sparks the most interest in the team members?
- If you could only add or improve one outreach in the next season, what would you choose? This might be a good place for team members to share their individual response with a partner, for paired discussions, and then room discussions.
Some churches have found that having an outside consultant/team/coach has been vital to their assessment/planning process. Let us know if we can help facilitate discussions or even bring in a team to conduct a full consultation weekend.