~ David Schoen, UCC Local Church Ministry
Dear friends in Conference Ministry,
This significance of MISSION:1 and the response to it is particularly striking when you read the most recent UCC FACT (Faith Communities Today) report on Local and Global Mission Programs and Giving recently compiled by Marge Royle.
The report looks at UCC congregations’ concerning their involvement in their local communities; community programs congregations offered; involvement in global mission programs; and mission giving contributions.
Here is the link to the UCC Local and Global Mission report
And here is a link to a page with all the FACT reports
The report points out that no other program on the list of congregational programs or activities was done by more congregations than community-service programs and that food assistance is the most common community assistance. This certainly was obvious in the response to MISSION:1.
The FACT survey (taken in 2010) when reviewing UCC congregations’ responses with other mainline denominations’ congregations showed however that in general, UCC congregations are quite similar to those of other mainline denominations in their community ministries. The FACT survey also showed that when comparing 2000 survey with the 2010 survey, UCC congregations were less involved in community service in 2010 than they were in 2000. The biggest factor in the decline in community service was the decreasing size of our congregations size which explains the difference in the decade in number of community ministries. Most significant was the decrease in programs by congregations that had decreased from 100 – 50 participants in worship and those that decreased to less than 50 in worship. So the decrease in size of our congregations is not only affecting our churches and denominations, it is also having a negative impact on our communities.
When looking at total mission giving including OCWM, the survey percentages show that over 21% of churches in the sample gave 10%, while another 23% exceed it. About 17% designate 5% of their budget for causes beyond the local congregation. For all participating churches, the mean percentage designated for missions was 9% while the median was 8%. While the majority of contributions were under $10,000, over 16% of congregations gave more than $25,000 to missions, some of them considerably more.
Congregational conflict was related to mission giving. Churches that had experienced conflict over budgets, worship, facility use, the leader’s style, or the leader’s or a member’s personal behavior gave less to mission than did congregations without such conflict, and the differences were largest for those congregations in conflict over the leader’s style or the leader’s or members’ behaviors. Surprisingly, churches that reported conflict over denominational actions did NOT give a significantly smaller percentage to mission than others.
Congregations founded since 1975 were far more likely than others to distribute mission resources through self-initiated projects. Congregations with a higher proportion of adults aged 35-49, rather than seniors, were much more likely to pursue self-initiated projects.
No evidence was found to suggest that congregations’ local and global ministries compete with each other for mission dollars. Instead, congregations that are involved in mission in one location are more likely to be involved in mission in other areas as well. This is just some of the findings in the report. There’s a lot more, in fact, since it is a long report I have highlighted in blue some of the information that I found interesting and insightful in the text..
Based on the good response to MISSION:1 in food collection, advocacy, and offerings. I wonder if MISSION:1 might re-energize community services and advocacy that have been on decline in our congregations over the past 10 years. I also wonder if for smaller churches that do not have capacity to maintain an ongoing program of service, MISSION:1 was appealing because it was a project (not a program) that could be achieved even in smaller challenged congregations.
Peace, David Schoen
216-736-3827 * Congregational Vitality and Discipleship * UCC Local Church Ministries