Missional Assessment Profile (MAP) Results and Next Steps

Categories: News,The Way Things Look From Here

A Letter to the Congregation from Pastor Vern Christopherson

A big thank you to all who took part in the Missional Assessment Profile (MAP). The assessment was administered by Tom Jolivette of Kairos and Associates. We had 419 respondents. Of those respondents, almost three-fourths had been at Zumbro 10 years or longer. And close to half were in the 55-74 age range. This provided a helpful snapshot of life at Zumbro. Just a reminder, we participated in this assessment to get a better sense of the overall health and vitality of our congregation. Although the questions weren’t directly related to any building renovation per se, your responses provided clues of things we would need to consider if we were to go forward with changes to our facility.

On Wednesday, June 13, Tom Jolivette met with a number of leaders from Zumbro: the Building Visioning Team, Building Missions Team, church council, and program staff. Those gathered got a first-hand look at the report. One of the goals of MAP is to paint a visual picture of our “location” in living out God’s mission for us. There are four possible locations on the landscape: 1) stationary, 2) nostalgic, 3) puzzled, and 4) possibilities. The goal of our efforts, as defined by the MAP profile, is to “climb the mountain” and so to reach our “destination.”

So what was Zumbro’s location on the MAP? We exhibited a nostalgic side. This location tends to say, “The view is just fine from where we are now.” We also exhibited a puzzled side. From this vantage point, we showed a desire to make something happen, but we’re not exactly sure what that something is. This location says, “Which way should we go?” And finally, we exhibited a possibility side. This showed that we are well-positioned to make bold decisions and advance the mission in new ways.  And even though we’re only at the base of the mountain, this location says, “Let’s get going.”

The MAP highlighted a number of strengths of Zumbro. We feel a strong sense of belonging to this place. We’re excited about our ministry. We feel that we are making a difference in people’s lives and in the life of our community. We indicted that worship is the center of our life together, and has the greatest impact on faith development. In addition to worship, we noted that belonging to some sort of small group has been instrumental in giving us a sense of belonging and the opportunity to work together with others.

The MAP also highlighted some areas that are in need of our attention. We expressed a readiness to embrace change, but there was some hesitancy about what that change might mean. A majority of us didn’t feel a need for it to happen in the next six months. This response seemed to coincide with the findings from our Holy Cow assessment of five years ago. At the time, we identified ourselves as a Magi culture. As such, we like to journey, and to take our time as we go. We state this in our mission statement, Our journey of faith leads us….  We like to ask questions, explore options, and fully consider where we are going, and why. With a Magi mentality, there is always one more question to ask and one more possibility to explore. While it’s not impossible to get a Magi culture moving in the same direction, it does take time, patience, and lots of talking.

This brings up another area in need of attention. Respondents expressed a question – maybe even a slight lack of trust – regarding the leadership of our congregation. My hunch is that this response is related, at least in part, to the building process to date.  As I understand it, people are very grateful for those who’ve been leading the process, but they want to make sure their voices get heard along the way. Even though we’ll likely never agree about everything regarding our facility, the strong support of the congregation is critical to guide our next steps. Listening to each other will be key. Please know that there will be many more opportunities to ask questions, and to share thoughts and opinions. Some of these opportunities will come in large groups, others in small groups, and still others in one-on-one conversations. No decisions will be made until people have a chance to be heard.

Here is the summary of our MAP assessment from Tom Jolivette:

  • The people of Zumbro love this church, and are both deeply concerned about and committed to its future.
  • Worship is the center of our community and has the greatest impact on faith development.
  • Zumbro is not afraid of change, but it is uncertain regarding the urgency to change.
  • There is some question around our clarity of mission and its impact on decision-making.
  • When addressing change, it is important to be as open as possible, encouraging diverse opinions, before making decisions.

Where do we go from here? The congregational leaders that received the report on June 13 will gather again in late July. Specifically they will focus on the why question. For example, why are we considering a renovation of our facilities? Why is this instrumental in carrying out our mission? Again, until we are clearer about the why, we can’t expect to move forward with any sense of purpose and excitement. Tom Jolivette uses the example of Twin Cities-based Medtronic. Medtronic’s why is to create medical devices in order to “alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life.” Whatever Medtronic does is rigorously tied to this why. Any what and how they consider flows naturally out of it.

Assuming we can gain more clarity about Zumbro’s why at our July leadership meeting, we will call another meeting in September. This meeting will include an expanded leadership group, to further the conversation. If this is a conversation in which you’d like to participate, consider yourself invited. We need to hear from you. And assuming that these conversations are positive, then we plan to go forward with a Feasibility Study in October and November. That’s where the rubber will hit the road. A cross-section of the congregation will be asked about their commitment to the project, and particularly their commitment on a financial level.

If you’d like to pick up a copy of the MAP results, you can find one in the church office. The results are long on statistics and short on analysis, but it will give you some idea of our health and vitality as a congregation, and whether or not we are positioned to address our facility needs at this time.

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