08-27-2012 Tweetchat Compilation

We had 233 updates sent last night from our group. Here’s the questions they dealt with:

Q1: Last 4 years, 621 #UMC churches were planted & 18k YAs trained. Link: http://bit.ly/NyDV2G  Is this “a dying UMC” to you? Why?

  • It’s a sign of a church working smarter. Wonder how many church closures there were in the quadrennium?
  • The numbers are great but how are we keeping and continuing to invest in their life in the future of the church?
  • Decline in membership – is that in long-standing congregations? If so, new plants don’t solve that core issue. Renewal is key.
  • expanding last response. Populations still unchurched, esp. NE. And we have lots of brick and mortar infrastructure. Need mix
  • Are new church starts keeping up with decline/aging congregations? If the UMC dies, “The Church” will continue #resurrection
  • Define “trained.” What’s the purpose of these new churches? Are they in new areas or in addition to established congregations.
  • I think some people equate change with death. I see this as a changing UMC. those embracing change will help the umc thrive
  • is coming up! Big topics tonight! You know the drill. Please begin your response with Q1, Q2 etc and use the hashtag
  • More directly, this looks like a feelgood report, as if someone went out with the purpose of creating awexome stats. #cynic
  • More directly, this looks like a feelgood report, as if someone went out with the purpose of creating awexome stats. #pessimist
  • on a related note, businesses/restaurants relocate to remain vital. many umcs have been in the same physical place too long
  • (My mom answering via phone) How many people are active? We need to know activity of people not numbers to determine vitality
  • Based on numbers the #UMC seems 2 have been in a recession, not a depression. The church can’t die as long as Jesus is center
  • Dying, no. Atrophying, yes! While we grow anew in areas, we need to find a way to renew in others.
  • if we’re racing against death, at this rate i think it might catch-up to us.
  • Last 4 years, 621 #UMC churches were planted & 18k YAs trained. Link: bit.ly/NyDV2G Is this “a dying UMC” to you? Why?
  • No not a dying church. But be aware that a large number of new church plants don’t make it to 5. It’s sort of like an R&D lab
  • No. Cuz # of local churches (new or old) says *nothing* about disciple-making or transforming the world.
  • not dying, but branching. Trads and contemporaries co-existing, but not in unity. Different needs, goals.
  • real question to get @ vitality: what are the people of these local churches doing when they’re not in Sunday services?
  • simplistically: exciting reports! seems like ministry thrives when fertile ground is tended
  • New growth is the future, but we aren’t doing as much as we can or need to. #churchplanting #dreamumc
  • Our 100+ year old church added lift last year, to make fellowship hall accessible but isn’t outside our doors much.

Q2: Despite Plan UMC’s failure at #gc2012, bishops are still using the CTA rec’ed vital stats. Are these helpful indicators? Why?

  • as long as they’re used as a conversation starter, there’s no problem with the metrics.
  • it’s good to start some where. but agree that numbers alone can’t tell a ministry story.
  • #metrics We gave out 96 bottles of water at our town’s Old Home Day parade on Saturday and we put out 40 chairs for community.
  • I haven’t read the stats Information is important but vision/discernment should be at heart of this movement Listen for Spirit.
  • also, tracking the numbers can give a measurable benchmark for change. Anyone have a way to measure disciple making?
  • Can be helpful indicators, but vital stats and numbers in general need to be a minor piece of the plan, not the major part.
  • cont. sometimes following Christ leads to decline in numbers.
  • cont’d(No): Let’s ask how, not how many. Depth & impact – not shallow bean-counting. Qualitative, not quantitative metrics.
  • Did numbers tell us anything we didn’t already know? #fearreigns
  • I think numbers can tell a great story, how they change, how they shift. however the qualitative must be joined by quantitative
  • it’s a start – but the numbers should build to something bigger and more informative
  • That depends on how stats are used. Helpful if they are a motivation to change; not helpful if they lead to fear/entrenchment
  • UMC currently runs on a business model, but what works on a factory floor doesn’t work in a sanctuary. #6sigma4jesus
  • Despite Plan UMC’s failure at #gc2012, bishops are still using the CTA rec’ed vital stats. Are these helpful indicators? Why?
  • I actually blogged about this when doing the Sync blog with @umjeremy prior to GC. signsunseen.com/?p=54
  • I think there are ways to judge quality of the fruits instead of the entire yield.
  • I totally agree with @KVG_DC. There is a place for stats, but that isn’t the whole story. shouldn’t be slaves to data.
  • if not numbers what statistics/signs do we tract to indicate discipleship?
  • If we actually cared about transforming the world, wouldn’t we ask people *outside* the church how we’re doing?
  • In a denom with problems with bureaucracy dominating spirit and daring, I suspect demanding the CTA stats is a problem.
  • I’ve long felt that while outcome metrics aren’t inherently bad. The CTA dashboards aren’t measuring what we need to know.
  • No…look at #neumc our churches are so small but look at the amazing ministries coming out of New England #shoutout
  • Numbers do mean a lot, but what is more important is what you do with those numbers. #discipleship
  • No. Pew sitters aren’t same as disciples. Internally measured #s don’t speak to transforming world.
  • So far as I know annual state generated almost no feedback here- maybe the anointed got it. I don’t know that it was read.
  • Studying “The External Church.” some people are so internally-focused, they need the “proof” we’re bleeding to be motivated.
  • yes, but only as input. #s offer and indication of what ur facing/working with
  • They are and help Bishops/DSs see problem areas and growth sooner for further consideration. They are a good tool.
  • Little stories of transformation can’t be easily benchmarked.
  • Attendance, Giving, Outreach and other things are tracked. Together they can point to discipleship or no.
  • They measure a lot more than “pew sitters.” See for yourself! northalabamaumc.org/weeklyreport.a…

Q3: So of course the big one- what should indicate growth or vitality in the #UMC? How do we eval discipleship & transformation?

  • Programs like HCI can help: ctcumc.org/pages/detail/1…
  • The bible says we are to sow seeds, to be seeds, to tend the soil; but we are to leave growth to God. bad metrics.
  • What were the original marks of discipleship? I think Mt Pisgah UMC could offer a helpful way: seedbed.com/feed/dinesh-an…
  • #America One way to get results we want is to remove Sunday morning conflicts of child sports, boy scouts, other activities
  • We need to be doing what we were called to do, to make disciples. Discipleship is within each heart Cannot be measured.
  • There will always be a tension between measurements and making disciples. #UMC needs members/donors supporting budgets. cont.
  • We had our Spirit Study last night on the front steps and someone from the town joined us. Again, not sure how that fits.
  • Go back to our mission statement: are disciples being made? is the world being transformed? #mydashboard
  • IMO the answers have 2 B relational not numerical. That means DSs R really going 2 have 2 work 2 know pastors & churches.
  • Jesus fed 5,000 hungry peeps–none became disciples. Is feeding the hungry enough? #whoevergivesacupofcoldwater
  • No one expects to answer this question in a tweet chat, but this cuts to the heart of what we’re about: being a faithful #umc !
  • Could we somehow measure the literal fruits? Personal conversations with members? Impression neighbors have of church?
  • Disciples can be made in worship, but are maintained through small group ministry and mission work.
  • disciples create more disciples, which seems as though measurable growth would result.
  • Energy in our congregations. People spiritually fed who want to serve. I think %ages in ministries might speak > #s.
  • from a business marketing perspective, is the “Jesus” brand gaining market share and building influence online and IRL?
  • I also agree with people talking about small groups. They are a huge indication of strong discipleship!
  • I still think # but I am in the minority, # can measure everything from missions to small groups
  • If small groups don’t work we could always get bitten by venomous snakes and if God heals us, it’s because we’re vital
  • Local congregations need to be encouraged to set goals, with the help of DSs have accountability to reach them.
  • Local congregations set their own goals and build outcomes that lead to those goals. Nonprofits do this for reporting and eval
  • provide local congregations with more avenues to share their stories. So the general church can actually know what’s going on
  • So of course the big one- what should indicate growth or vitality in the #UMC? How do we eval discipleship & transformation?
  • Stats on attendance, giving, etc. are good for the denomination. It’s up to individual churches to evaluate their quality.
  • Using small groups worked for John Wesley, I don’t see why it can’t work now
  • Worship attendence as related to small group attendence and participation in mission work (local and away).
  • The idea of “one metric to rule them all” assumes metrics are about comparing congregations in radically different contexts 1/2 Metrics that measure vitality in ways that help cong. are not comparative but used to estab goals and steps to achieve them 2/2

Join us for our next Tweetchat on September 10th, 2012 @ 9pm Eastern (6pm Pacific)

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