Paragraph 213 in The Book of Discipline
Local Church Assessment Process
¶ 213. A Process for Assessment of Local Church Potential—Since every congregation is located in a community in some type of transition, every local church is encouraged to study their congregation’s potential. Upon the request of the congregation the district superintendent shall appoint a study task force to assist in an extensive study of the past, present, and potential ministry of that local church. Alternatively, the district superintendent may appoint such a task force when the future viability of the congregation is in question or whenever he/she deems it necessary for other reasons. The task force shall be composed of an equal number of lay and clergypersons and shall include persons from that congregation.
1. This study shall include, but not be limited to: a) unique missional opportunities and needs of the community; b) present ministries of the congregation; c) number of leaders and style of leadership; d) growth potential of the surrounding community; e) fiscal and facilities needs; f) distance from other United Methodist churches; g) number and size of churches of other denominations in the community; h) other items that may impact the church’s ability to fulfill the mission of the Church as stated in Chapter One, Section I. [to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.]
2. The findings shall be published and presented to the congregation with recommendations as to how best to fulfill the local church’s call to ministry and to optimize the stewardship of the ministry resources available. The recommendations shall explore options for serving the community with nurture, outreach, and witness ministries as an organized church (¶¶ 201-204) or cooperative parish ministries (¶ 206) or ecumenical shared ministries (¶ 207); or give special attention to redevelopment, relocation, or discontinuance. Those invited to the presentation shall include: the members of the congregation, the pastor(s), the district superintendent, and members of the district board of church location and building (¶ 2518).
3. a) The members of the local church shall consider the recommendations and develop goals and a ministry action plan in response to the recommendations. The district superintendent shall report the results of the study and the congregation’s response to the cabinet, with recommendations for the allocation of conference staff, resourcing, financial support, or other resources needed to undergird the congregation’s efforts to reach its recommended potential. Such annual conference support shall be committed no longer than three years. b) In urban churches where the reported average worship attendance for the previous two conference years is below 25 or is unknown, the District Superintendent may convene a special session of the conference to take action concerning the ministry recommendations. In addition to the local church charge conference membership, the members of the District Board of Church Location and Building will be present with voice only.