Written by Rachel Hackenberg
To our Committee on Ministry colleagues,
With the NBA playoffs underway and MLB opening day just behind us, it’s a great time to highlight one of the invaluable team players in this shared work of ministerial authorization, standing and oversight: the UCC’s Center for Analytics, Research & Data (CARD).
CARD works collaboratively across all settings of the UCC to collect & report data, analyze trends, and produce assessments that can help us all shape vital ministries, including up-to-date information on ministerial leadership and changing congregations.
Among the resources it creates and curates, CARD hosts a weekly blog on Vital Signs & Statistics to encourage conversations about the current and changing church. Many of CARD’s blogposts have direct relevance to Committees on Ministry and to the MIDs & ministers who meet with COMs:
- Have a question about assessing the learning and education of a Member in Discernment? “In these days when we are reimagining the present and future of theological education and ministerial formation, we are starting with the question: ‘What does an authorized minister in the UCC need to know and be able to do in order to serve faithfully and effectively?’” Read more of this CARD blogpost….
- Have a question about the habits of other COMs? “On average, Committees on Ministry have 12 members. Six COMs in the UCC have 20 or more members, and 6 COMs have 6 or fewer members. Twenty-six conferences reported that the majority of their COMs meet monthly. A handful of conferences have regularly meeting subcommittees but only bring the whole committee together once or twice a year.” Read more of this blogpost…
- Have a question about trends in church growth and decline? “Churches that are growing…tend to be either multi-racial or non-white congregations. Greater percentages of non-white congregations experienced growth over the last five years, with percentages of bi-racial/multi-racial and Native American congregations experiencing the greatest membership increases overall.” Read more of this blogpost…
Thank goodness for teammates in this work of ministerial authorization & oversight! I encourage you to read CARD’s blog every Monday and to use the blogposts in your COM meetings for conversation, study and prayer.
Like the interdependence between faith and works, justice and prayer, Sunday worship and weekday living, the work of COMs is integral to and has far-reaching impact for MIDs, authorized ministers, and the Church itself. Your attention to detail in matters of ecclesiastical endorsement is deeply appreciated in your COM ministry for the United Church of Christ.
The Rev. Rachel G. Hackenberg
Minister for Committee on Ministry Resources & Conference Support
Ministerial Excellence, Support & Authorization (MESA) Team
Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ