We have learned a lot about the CTC’s Wildly Important Goal (the WIG) the last few years, especially with the pandemic season. Here are some of those learnings:

  • The number of small groups are a lagging indicator as to whether we are accomplishing the WIG effectively. It takes time for the effect of this kind of effort to show up in the life of the church.

  • The narrative comes first, the story of the life and mission of the church.

    • As these stories of God at work in the church develop, they usually show up later in more specific metrics.

    • We have been living the narrative this last year.

    • God has been very much seen in the ongoing life and mission of the CTC Churches.

  • Beginning the full reporting of metrics again is probably going to be disconcerting. Most of us will not have the same numbers pre-pandemic.  But we must know the reality to move to the next step. 

Be aware that the Cabinet is fully aware of our reality, how much this last season has impacted our churches. The prediction more than a year ago that most of us would be leading new church starts is proving to be even more accurate than we anticipated.
During the last year, and longer, we have put less of an emphasis on reporting our "Vital Signs" to the Districts and Conference. Some churches continued to report, some did not. And in many ways, what was reported was often inconsistent with how other churches were reporting, especially regarding online worship. We need to move forward with more accurate reporting, so we know where we are. Knowing where we are is the first step in leading to where we are going.
We thank God for His faithfulness in this crazy season. And please know that the Bishop and Cabinet are thankful to our pastors and church leaders for their faithfulness to Christ’s mission in one of the most trying times in our history as a conference.

Beginning in the month of July, Bishop Lowry and the Cabinet are asking that each church begin prioritizing returning to the reporting of vital signs.

Please focus on and prioritize reporting in this way:

  • In-person worship attendance

  • Online worship attendance

  • Professions of faith

  • Number of small groups meeting; in person or online. (This is new and an important focus as a vital sign marking disciple making)

Narrative: If you have a special celebratory story of disciple making in your church, we want to know about it. Please share an individual story, program story, or event that celebrates our work together in discipleship. This can be communicated with a direct email or note to your District Superintendent. These narratives connect with what your church is doing and are often communicated to the Bishop, Cabinet, and the Conference. 
The metrics of the church uniquely include numbers such as worship attendance and profession of faith, but also must include the stories of the daily life and mission of the church that speaks so much to what God is doing in our churches and communities throughout the CTC.
May God grant great grace as we begin the long journey into what the church will look like as COVID becomes less and less a factor. Church as a new church start and restart is upon us.
Rev. Mike Ramsdell, Executive Director
Center for Evangelism, Mission & Church Growth