Church Leadership Connection (CLC) and the Office of Call Process Support has teamed up with Research Services to survey Presbyterians about mission studies, the periodic reviews congregations undertake to “discern God’s call for their present and future ministry.”
That description comes from a video on the CLC pages of pcusa.org. The underway survey is gathering up-to-date information for a mission study guide, a new resource that will also be available through CLC, the PC(USA)’s matching and referral system for employment opportunities in ministry.
Dr. Angie Andriot, Research Associate with Research Services, said the survey “is geared toward congregations and committees on ministry (COMs) that have recently gone through a mission study process.” It seeks to find out how congregations have conducted recent mission studies, and what help congregations would like from the national church for future studies.
The survey is open to all Presbyterians who have participated in a mission study. Released in the spring, the survey will remain open until November 30. It takes about seven minutes to complete.
Andriot said it is “important that smaller congregations provide survey feedback.” Smaller worshiping communities have limited budgets that can restrict access to consultants and other mission study helpers. Smaller congregations also have limited communications networks, meaning they are less likely to have learned about the survey in the first place.
In addition to asking respondents about their experiences with past mission studies, the survey gathers respondent advice for two specific stakeholder groups: congregations “just beginning to embark on a mission study” and designers of the upcoming mission study resource guide who work for the national church.
Click here to take the survey or find out more: https://surveys.pcusa.org/s3/Mission-Study-Research
Forwarding the survey is encouraged.
Mission studies are often conducted before congregations install a new pastor. Some standard questions posed during mission studies appear in the image below.
The Rev. Manuel Silva-Esterrich, Manager of Call Process Support with CLC, said that whenever a mission study occurs, it helps a congregation “take stock of itself and the surrounding community.”
Mission studies have become more difficult to carry out during the pandemic, Silva-Esterrich noted. Some congregations have even asked if they should delay their call process to install a new pastor because of COVID-19. His response is always the same: “No!”
In many cases the pandemic has made it more important for congregations to assess new and newly apparent community realities. Silva-Esterrich recommends that congregations conduct a mission study as soon as conditions allow, whether a congregation is installing a new pastor or not.
In addition to a new ministry study guide, CLC is looking to revise its resource “On Calling a Pastor” and to develop a new COM toolbox. Committees on ministry typically assist with the process of installing a new pastor, with congregations working closely with presbyteries.
Silva-Esterrich hopes that the new resources will allow Presbyterian entities, each with unique needs, to draw the information they need from one place.
As a result of this guide, CLC will provide COMs and pastor nominating committees consultation and training about mission studies. This will be a big addition to the work that the Mid Council Ministries division of the Office of the General Assembly, under the leadership of the Rev. Jihyun Oh, Director of Mid Council Ministries, provides for COMs everywhere.
Silva-Esterrich expects the new mission study guide to be available in time for the 225th General Assembly in June 2022.
Questions about the survey and requests for the survey in a language other than English should be directed to Dr. Angie Adriot. Find the survey here: https://surveys.pcusa.org/s3/Mission-Study-Research