You have already collected demographic data about the community you will engage with. But data alone is not enough—you need to spend time in your community paying attention to the context, listening to our neighbors, and listening to God. The following exercises will help you discover the good news of what God is doing in your community.
During Phase 2, your congregation will be required to engage in two practices (MissionInsite study and Community Asset Map) and will select from several community engagement practices – including at least one low contact and one relational/interactive opportunity.
- MissionInsite Study (required): Participants will use demographic data made available by the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego through MissionInsite to begin exploring your community. Accessing this data requires that a representative of your congregation register on the MissionInsite website using the diocesan agency register code (3353D). If you need help with registration, here is a tutorial. Once your registration is complete, you will generate a demographic report on the community around your church. Here is a tutorial.
- Community Asset Map (required): An asset map catalogs all the gifts—or assets—a community has in the individuals that participate, its geography, and social make-up. Think about your ministry context. Whose names and stories do you know? Where do people live, work and play? Who are the stakeholders in the community? Who is left out within the community? You can download physical copies of this form here.
- Windshield Survey (low contact): Invite members of your group to conduct a “windshield survey” of the area you have selected. This experiment is designed to guide you towards collecting information about the community by listening to God, observing the neighborhood, and maybe even meeting individuals in the neighborhood. Always go in groups of two or more. You can download physical copies of the forms for tracking your progress here.
- Visual Tour (low contact): Like a prayer a walk or a windshield survey, a visual tour is an opportunity to walk through your neighborhood and discover what God is doing in this place. From Studying Congregations, “images themselves offer an important way to help others ‘see’ what is going on in, through, and beyond congregations.” After completing a visual tour, it is important to decide how you will share what you have discovered with your congregation. These images can be shared along with the map you are frequently updating for the congregation.
- Prayer Walks (low contact): After having driven through your community, it is time to pray through your community. Use the Neighborhood Prayer Walks guide from The Episcopal Church for designing your prayer walks available here. You can download physical copies of the forms for tracking your progress here.
- Relationship Inventory: As a congregation develops an increasing sense of who they know and who they would like to know in the community around them, they can use the Relationship Inventory form to document the names and relationships of those they now know. You can download physical copies of this form here.
- Information Interviews (relational/interactive opportunity): An information interview or one-to-one relational meeting is an intentional, well-framed conversation between two people. It is the basic building block of all relational (or community) organizing, a potent tool for community formation and movement building. Use the One-to-One Relational Meetings guide from The Episcopal Church as instruction for these conversations available here.
- Campus Tour (relational/interactive opportunity): Your congregation has gifts to offer, but it also has needs. It may have physical space but needs financial resources in order to maintain it. The community around your church also has strengths and needs. This exercise is intended to assist you in discerning how your gifts might be paired with the gifts of your neighbors so that however you move forward it is sustainable for all. You can download physical copies of this guide here.
- Meeting Guide: Download physical copies of the meeting guide here.
To learn more, contact Canon for Mission, Jason Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.