Just because you are little does not mean you aren't making an impact, and certainly does not mean you aren't deserving of some outside help. At The Spark Mill we have an ongoing commitment to providing high quality services to small organizations who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford working with a consultant. The probono program is a key feature of our goal of equitable access. Additionally, we have been working over the last few months to adapt our strategic planning process to the needs of faith organizations and the unique role they play in the health and wellness of a community. This past weekend these two areas aligned as we focused our attention on Antioch United Methodist Church in Kenbridge, VA.
Antioch has flourished in the past two years with attendance, giving, and mission work all growing substantially. Their key question was: Where do we focus next and how do we accomplish our goals?
We relied on two pieces of information for the gather phase - a Congregational Electronic Survey and a Congregational Measures of Health data set. With a great response rate to the survey we were able to dive in and see where the congregants' views about the church, its mission, and future focus all lined up.
A small team comprised of members of the Vitality Committee, Church Council, and other church leaders sat down for the entire day on Saturday to make sense of the data. We spent time looking at the environment, looking at the congregation, and looking at the community.
We ended the day with five solid goals for the church to build on, assigned them all to committees, and discussed ways to engage the rest of the congregation over the next few months.
There were some major "AHA" moments, epiphanies if you will, throughout this process both by the Antioch team and The Spark Mill. Sometimes it just takes an outside perspective to help you recognize who/where you are and where you are headed. As we finish up their report and strategic plan we have that warm fuzzy feeling, knowing we had an opportunity to participate in a transformative experience.