First, as we embark on a new vision and three Conference priorities, we need data in order to assess our progress. Second, and maybe more importantly, we acknowledge that many of the requests in Tables I-III do not always reflect the actual practices of local churches in Missouri. In fact, Tables I-III are not generated by the Conference. Rather, we collect the data and immediately provide it to the General Council on Finance & Administration. We certainly look at trends within that information (e.g. worship attendance, individuals involved in mission, giving, etc.), but the statistics are used more extensively by the greater Church.
A new Table IV will allow the Conference to develop much better tools for our local churches. We are committed to broadening and exploring what constitutes “success” or “health” for our local churches. We are also committed to refocusing our mission and vision along the lines of our new Conference priorities. In fact, a significant portion of Table IV is tailored from an original survey completed by most local churches in mid-2018. That survey provided us with a solid benchmark to begin exploring what our churches were already doing and how the Conference might work to better resource them. Now, we must transition to collecting these metrics in a manner more consistent with past practices.
In a webinar on December 4, 2018, at 10:00 a.m., Conference Statistician, Rev. Nate Berneking will walk through the new Table IV requests and their accompanying instructions. This webinar is intended to supplement the one he conducted last year on Tables I-III. While he may review a few items from Tables I-III, he will focus most of his time on the new requests. That said, participants may bring questions about any of the requests and reporting process. The new Table IV and accompanying instructions will be released in an upcoming email before the December 4 webinar.