Resource Study

What Is A Congregational Resource Study? 

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In the developed world Congregations are facing increasing issues associated with ageing populations, increasing healthcare costs, and declining membership.

Whilst in the under developed parts of the world the issues are different, for example skills are needed to help members develop and grow in a sustainable manner.

Pressure exists on Congregations in the western world to ensure they have sufficient resources to help their members, whilst at the same time the developing regions are seeking help for their mission and project activity. This results in the need to examine how congregation wide resources are utilised, assessing whether and to what level resources may need to be moved to other parts of the Congregation.

This situation poses many questions - what, when and how should these resources be moved. What is the impact of any decisions made regarding a Congregations resources. A Congregation study can provide the answers to these questions and allow effective planning for the long term.

A Congregation Study analyses demographics, income, expenditure, investments, skills/capability and assets, to provide leadership teams with an understanding of the current and future capacity of the Congregation 20-30 years hence. 

The study produces a model that can be used by the congregation on an ongoing basis to perform sensitivity analysis, reflecting the outcomes of various scenarios in the strategic decision making process. Once strategic decisions are made the model can be updated each year to track operational results and to highlight where alterations may be needed on a tactical basis going forward.

The results can be used to make informed decisions on a number of areas such as:

  • contribution analysis,
  • developing reserves policies,
  • investment objectives/strategy,
  • property strategies,
  • healthcare and
  • mission related activities. 

What does the study involve?

Information and data is gathered from around the Congregation to provide a basis for a detailed analysis.  This is then incorporated with additional information from meetings with appropriate Congregation personnel in order to gain an understanding of life within the Congregation.   

A Congregation study can be undertaken in a number of different ways, dependent on the requirements, the structures in place and the information available.  A study can range from a desktop-based study, using data already available in the Congregation, to a detailed study involving meetings with each leadership team.  Discussions usually take place to identify which is the most appropriate method of data capture for the Congregation. 

Close work is undertaken with the appropriate personnel (leadership team, treasurer or other finance personnel) and where appropriate, at a local level. The relevant and necessary information required for the study is gathered to ensure an understanding of the unique circumstances of the Congregation at all levels.  

Benefits of a Congregation Study 

There are many benefits of a Congregation study, providing leadership teams with information to make informed decisions.  Some of the benefits of carrying out such a study include: 

  • Production of a strategic decision-making methodology for repeated use
  • Effective long term planning
  • Appropriate stewardship of resources
  • Understanding of current and future resources to deliver information that will allow the right decisions to be made about their future use
  • Identification of areas of need within the Congregation
  • Assistance with development of an appropriate strategic plan for the Congregation
  • Provision of information to assist in planning of future healthcare and accommodation requirements for members.