Mission First!

Data analysis well on its way

November 4, 2016
We’re getting close! 
  • In less than a month the Mission Council will have their first meeting (Dec. 2-4).
  • As of Nov. 2, more than 2,100 Mission Gathering questionnaires had been entered in the database with more on the way.
  • The last Mission Gathering is Nov. 11.
So now what?

More than 2,000 Disciples have come together in various settings face-to-face to talk about the mission of the Church. That is a lot of conversation to capture so you might be wondering how all this will get shaped into a usable form for the Mission Council.

Enter recent graduate student, evaluation specialist, and former Global Mission Intern (GMI) Ashley Holst. She along with a team of sociology students at Chapman University are analyzing all the responses qualitatively and coding the responses to help quantify the emerging themes.

An initial targeted sample of 300 surveys was examined by Holst to start identifying common terms, themes and ideas using NVivo, a qualitative analysis program. The results were used to begin the process of creating a framework to analyze the entire collection of responses. The Mission First Implementation Team participated in final wording, organization and definitions used within the framework.

The NVivo analysis led to the development of a modified framework of categories and subcategories to determine common responses. Several Chapman students and another former GMI (Bethany Waggoner) are assisting in coding survey responses using these categories. A professional researcher, Mike Ainley, has also reviewed their work to make sure we are capturing an accurate picture.

Trends in responses to question 2, “what have you learned from mission,” include responses such as: better understanding God’s word, giving and receiving love, and discovering that all people need God and help. Some of the “umbrella” categories for the third question about mission focus include location, community to be supported, and how we connect in service. Umbrella categories for the focus areas suggested in the responses included education/teaching, environment/climate change, justice/peace, food/hunger, poverty and other needs as well as evangelism. Categories around ways of being in mission together included presence, learning from others, mission trips, needs assessments, welcoming and others.

Components of the Mission First! initiative
The Mission First! pilot is a little like “run(ning) with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). It is a two-part pilot project to help us focus on our goal of showing God’s love in the world (a.k.a. mission) and making our structures more nimble for this new day.

Mission focus: The work of the Mission Gatherings is meant to listen to God’s call as we hear it through the congregations and ministries across the life of the Church.

Nimble structures: Since the General Board meeting in the spring of 2015, the Administrative Committee has been serving as a proto-Governing Board (as called for in the Mission First proposal) – smaller in number than the current board, but seeing to the ministry of administration.

Timeline: This pilot project of focus and administration will be evaluated at the February 2017 meeting of the full General Board. If it is judged to be a good way forward, there will be changes to our governing document (The Design) that will renew the way our ministries relate in covenant. Those changes will come to the 2017 General Assembly.
To learn more about Mission First, go to http://missionfirst.wpengine.com


Leave a Reply

To help facilitate safe spaces for conversation and community within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), comments will be moderated in accordance with our social media policy.