Thanks to Your Giving: Valuable Demographics Info Available to North Ga United Methodist Churches

12/8/2015

When you give to your local United Methodist Church, much of the gift stays with that church to cover mission, ministry and expenses, but a small percent from your church is put together with gifts from other United Methodist churches in our Conference (and around the world) to fund in-part our work together as a Conference and as a denomination. We call that apportioned giving. (Read more about apportionments and your church's giving at http://www.ngumc.org/giving.)

Over the next few months we'll be featuring some of the ministries that are thriving thanks to apportionment giving! 
 

Valuable Demographics Info Available to Your Church and Others 

University Heights UMC in DeKalb County is testing its assumptions about its neighborhood against data provided by demographics program MissionInsite.  
 
"One thing I have already gleaned is that while we bring in a very high proportion of families with young children, that is not the largest demographic group in our context," said church pastor Rev. Stacey Rushing. "For us this will mean discerning how we can expand our vision in the next year to include households who no longer have children at home."
 
Understanding the community outside the walls of the church is critical for United Methodist congregations to grow and serve. That's why the North Georgia Conference has partnered with the demographics program Mission Insite.
 
Mission Insite offers churches standard demographic information such as race, age, and gender of community members, but also provides users with deeper information on general concerns of the community, such as making friends or finding a job, and even offers information on the overall morals and values of the residents. 
 
Dr. Phil Schroeder, Director of Congregational Development, labels these pieces of information as “side doors to ministry.”  
 
"University Heights is a vital church but not a large church," explained Rushing. "Without using shared resources we would most likely never be in a place to access tools like MissionInsite which are critical in helping us provide ministry in the context of our community."
 
The second vision University Heights has for using the demographic information is to see pockets of mission and outreach opportunities in the surrounding areas. 
 
"With demographic data we can start to understand what needs exists as close as two miles away and plan for ways the congregation can help meet those needs. Already we are developing a mobile food pantry ministry where we are relying on existing relationships to help UHUMC get in-kind donations to those who need it, specifically low-income seniors and homeless men and women in our vicinity. With demographic data we can better identify areas where we need to develop relationships and increase our outreach," said Rushing.
 
Mission Insite updates its data twice a year to best provide community growth rates and the speeds of change that they’re facing. Like University Heights, churches can use the information to develop ministries and services that speak directly to their surrounding residents. 
 
The cost to use Mission Insite is covered by apportionment dollars, though churches pay for mailing list or other advance features. 
 
To find more about Mission Insite or get started using the program with your congregation, visit www.ngumc.org/missioninsitedemographics or contact the Conference Office of Congregational Development. A training will be offered at the United Methodist Center December 9. Email Beth Barnwell at bbarnwell@ngumc.net for availablility. 
 

Read Previous 'Thank You' Features


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