Annual Church Profile – more than the annual report card
    July 15 2014 by Brian Davis, Guest Column

    The annual church profile (ACP) is a document which may be unfamiliar to many younger North Carolina Baptists.
    Sometimes referred to as the “annual report card” of Southern Baptist churches, the ACP is the instrument churches use to report statistical data that is used by associations, state conventions, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), and Lifeway Christian Resources for a variety of purposes.
    In North Carolina your state convention staff depends on this information. The data mined from the ACP is necessary for our research and our strategic planning. This information is essential for convention staff as we fulfill the convention’s mission of assisting the churches in their divinely appointed mission. North Carolina Baptists are aware that 5.8 million residents of our state, roughly 65 percent of the population, claim no connection with a local church of any kind.
    Using census data and our research, we are able to identify pockets of concentrated lostness throughout the state.
    Taking ACP data we are able to identify churches that may be strategic partners in impacting these concentrations of lostness.

    The information gleaned from the ACP may be used to help your convention staff identify potential partners for church planting, church strengthening, and a host of other missionary and ministry endeavors.
    As the population of North Carolina continues to diversify, the ability to know which churches are engaging unreached and unengaged people groups in our state will be critical.
    The ACP provides a system of information sharing that allows the churches to provide an overview of their missionary and ministry endeavors.
    Convention staff may be able to follow up for specific details to ensure that there are not unnecessary duplications in effort, and, where needed, additional resources can be invested in underserved areas. With more than 4,300 churches in the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, it is a great task to keep up with all that God is accomplishing through the churches of the convention.
    The ACP may help the convention staff identify “bright spots” where effective disciple-making is taking place.
    As your staff studies the data, we may be able to identify trends of evangelism and discipleship effectiveness from which we can learn. That’s right, from which we can learn.
    Your staff is committed to learning what is working in the disciple-making efforts of churches across the state.
    The ACP data provided by the churches may help us.
    Our goal is not only to learn from the effectiveness of your church, but to celebrate this fact with you, and share this learning with other congregations for the good of the Kingdom.
    Churches across North Carolina continue to struggle with the burden of the economic recession that began over five years ago.
    Some North Carolina Baptists have not allowed the impact of the economy to affect their stewardship, however this is not a universal truth.
    Many churches in our state are reeling from reduced giving and as a result, their missionary and ministry endeavors have been affected.
    The data provided by ACP data may be an effective tool for convention staff as we seek to assist local church leadership to analyze giving trends and develop strategies for teaching stewardship truths.
    The ability to have a single place to review the congregation’s missions investment, locally, statewide, nationally, and globally, may be invaluable to church leaders; the ACP provides this type of statistical information quickly and with easy accessibility.
    While some churches may believe that the ACP is simply the “annual report card” we want you to know that it is much more. The ACP may help your convention staff work to develop strategies to assist churches in moving forward.
    But the operative term in all of this is “may.” If churches do not provide the statistical data, our task of assisting churches impact lostness is unnecessarily hindered.
    The reality is that the percentage of North Carolina Baptist churches completing the ACP has been in steady decline for several years. There is not a single explanation for “why” this may be the case, but the overarching reason appears to be churches simply do not understand why completing the reports and sharing the data is important.
    While statistics can help us celebrate the past, and we all need to celebrate what God has been doing in our midst, this data can help us move forward.
    Through the identification of trends, the establishment of strategic partnerships, the recognition of bright spots of effectiveness, and reflection upon our shared mission, vision and values, North Carolina Baptists can impact the vast sea of lostness in our state, make disciples and establish a disciple-making culture in our churches and communities.
    Your convention staff looks forward to serving you as you accomplish each of these and more. Thank you for the time you will invest in completing the ACP this year. Should you have any difficulty with the ACP process we hope that you will contact us.
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Davis is associate executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)

    Related story:

    Annual Church Profile gives churches, SBC ‘report cards’

    7/15/2014 11:26:14 AM by Brian Davis, Guest Column | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Annual Church Profile, LifeWay Research

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