We have set a WIG to increase market share in the CTC from 1.10% in 2016 to 1.25% by 2026 and to increase professions of faith from 1,845 in 2016 to 3,500 by 2026. For market share, this represents an increase of about 14% over ten years. For professions of faith, the increase would be about 90% from 2016 to 2026.
By setting a WIG, we create focus. As church leaders, we need to bend everything that we and our congregations do toward making disciples. As we focus our efforts toward a common goal, we’ll also build energy and excitement.
- Why did we choose to set a Wildly Important Goal (WIG)?
By setting this WIG, we focus our efforts on that which is most important to us—our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Too often, we as church leaders get distracted by divergent demands on our time and attention. Goals (common or Wildly Important), help to keep our focus on what’s vital. Goals that allow for easy measurement of progress are even more effective as they identify what’s working as well as areas where we might need to adjust. Each local church determines a plan of action that is unique to its community and congregation.
- Why did we pick market share and professions of faith as ways to measure progress toward the WIG?
Measuring how well we are making disciples is difficult, but it’s important. There would likely be flaws with any proposed measurement. At best, we can measure discipleship indirectly. In short, we will track two key things disciples do—profess their faith and worship with others.
When people profess their faith, they publicly declare their grace-empowered desire to turn away from sin and become disciples of Jesus Christ. If people aren’t making professions of faith, then our churches aren’t making new disciples.
Average worship attendance (AWA) is a way of tracking disciples’ active engagement with Christian community. Growing as a disciple isn’t a solitary activity. Showing up to worship doesn’t make a person a disciple, but disciples regularly seek to worship God together in community. In short, AWA reflects other good things going on.
We’ve chosen to measure AWA in terms of market share because it challenges us to look to the broader community beyond the walls of our churches as our mission field. Too often, we assume that everyone in our neighborhood is already connected to a Christian community. In reality, most people are not part of a church. The fields are ripe! Our mission compels us to connect with people who are not already part of our churches. Doing so will likely require a different approach than what we’ve done before.
- What counts as worship attendance?
Worship is understood as the praise of God and generally includes singing, the reading of Scripture, a homily, The Lord's Prayer, Holy Communion, and offering of gifts and prayers (both individual and corporate).
DO report attendance at services held on Sunday as well as any other days of the week. If worship takes place beyond the walls of your building, include that as well.
DO include worship for special services such as Christmas Eve, Good Friday, etc.
DO report all persons, including children, who participate in any part of the worship service.
DO NOT report persons who are in your church building during worship times but are not participating in worship (such as nursery workers or other staff).
- What counts as professions of faith?
DO report youth in Confirmation classes who join the church on Confirmation Sunday.
DO report adults joining your church who have never been a member of another church.
DO report those previously baptized who have left the church for an extended period of time and have come back to renew their commitment to the church.
DO NOT report transfers from other churches.
- Is this all about the numbers?
Yes, but in a good way. Numbers represent people. Each person is a child of God. We want everyone to know and love the Jesus we know.
- Since this is a conference goal, what does it have to do with my local church?
The Conference is always actively working to energize and equip local churches to make disciples. Some of the ways in which the conference does that is by encouraging and helping to resource churches to start new faith communities, working with districts and churches to develop clergy and lay leaders and aiding in missions focused on making disciples.
Local church strategies are based on your ministry's context. Your particular context and your church’s culture will determine which strategies will work best for making disciples. For guidance, reach out to your district superintendent and conference staff.