THE IMPORTANCE OF DATA
Data = Understanding
Good data drives good decisions.
Per the request of the Ministries Council, in preparation for the first meeting of the roundtable, the Project Imagine team has been working to accumulate enough data to create a snapshot of ministry across the movement. We have reached out to endorsed and affiliated agencies, to state and regional offices, and to camp facilities in an effort to better recognize the facts, figures, and trends within the Church of God. We distributed a request for data to these entities to answer these basic questions:
• What do we have collectively as a movement? (assets)
• What do we owe collectively as a movement? (debt)
• What do we do collectively as a movement? (program/external ministry information)
• How many people do we employ collectively as a movement?
The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight.
Prior to 1998, the collection of data was a regular part of the annual registration in the Church of God. This allowed us to have an overview of what our movement was stewarding for the kingdom. When Church of God Ministries, Inc. was formed, and when the office of World Service was assimilated into the whole, much of the data was no longer routinely collected. Much has changed in the two decades that have passed since we collected data regarding budgets, assets, liabilities, and income across all entities in the movement.
In June 2017, the General Assembly passed a motion (shown below) requesting that all entities associated with the Church of God share current data in order to help us construct an up-to-date snapshot of what our movement is currently stewarding.
This request is not necessarily new, but rather, gathering this data is a process that has fallen by the wayside over the past two decades. This current request does not imply that we will restart an annual data request cycle. We can, however, learn much from a data overview.
For example, here’s an excerpt from page 504 of the 1997 Yearbook of the Church of God:
Total budget for the next fiscal year: $144,416,868
Total indebtedness $ 66,823,003
Worth of buildings $582,372,871
Income last fiscal year $153,628,862
Community outreach $ 2,902,709
Christian Education $ 3,722,642
Youth Programs $ 1,816,613
Publicity $ 592,830
NOTE: The 1997 Yearbook states that the above statistics only reflect data from those responding to questions on their registration forms. Therefore, the facts given are a compilation of their responses and not a complete picture.
Early in December, the Project Imagine roundtable will meet for the first time to explore ways that the Church of God can best work collaboratively and maximize stewardship. Various scenarios will be proposed and considered. We believe that the wise and capable leaders who make up the roundtable will guide the General Assembly to consider a new path forward.
We are deeply appreciative of those who are sharing their organization’s facts and figures, which will be accumulated into an overall picture of our movement. All of it helps us to consider how our movement can best steward the resources God has entrusted to us.
Motion passed by 2017 General Assembly: that the Ministries Council affirm the need to explore ways to empower unity and the accelerated advance of the kingdom work, including consideration of concepts discussed by the general director and the Ministries Council in March 2017; furthermore, that the Council ask the General Assembly to endorse such exploration, affirm the Council’s convening of a diverse roundtable of representative leaders to wrestle with the possibilities, and invite all ministries and agencies within the Movement to join with the Council’s exploratory process, in the spirit of unity, sharing necessary data and perspective, through June 30, 2019.
Announcing additional roundtable members:
Position #26: Rev. Tim Clarke, chairman-elect of the General Assembly
Position #27: Roxie DeSantiago, Hispanic Council (Concilio Hispano) of the Church of God
Thanks for reading this Project Imagine update. My next posting will list the potential outcomes and the possible perils in the work of the roundtable.
Bob Moss, Executive Liaison for Project Imagine