Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some signs that a congregation should get help?

A: There are a number of factors, administrative, financial and spiritual that might indicate a congregation needs help. Most congregations will know there is a problem long before there are obvious symptoms that the Team can point to for you. Some obvious examples are:
~ Impending or current defaults on financial obligations including insurance, mortgages, loans, staff compensation and benefits, or Diocesan Apportionment;
~ Unbalanced budgets, budgets balanced only with the use of unrealistic income projections (a.k.a. “faith” budgets) or budgets balances only through the use of reserves or endowments;
~ Sustained or profound declines in congregational participation including Sunday attendance, pledging, or service in leadership roles. A lack of congregational attendance at diocesan convention may also be an indicator;
~ Reduction in clergy salary levels or the resignation or retirement of clergy without viable succession planning;
~ Maintenance issues with physical facility that have not been, or cannot be addressed;
~ Conflict within the congregation or between the congregation and the diocese, especially when relationships have become destructive, adversarial, or hostile.

Q: When should the Church Support Team be contacted?

A: As soon as it is clear that the congregation is facing significant challenges. The sooner issues are address the more options are available. Don't wait until there are no good options left before making contact.

Q: What happens when the Church Support team is called?

A: Our goal is to quickly (within 30 days) make an initial analysis and review of the issues, concerns, or problems at hand. A team and point person will be assigned. They will review the initial assessment with the congregation and create an initial response plan. This plan may include a regular meeting schedule, a more detailed financial and administrative audit, physical plant inspection, reviews of congregational ministry, history, past and present conditions. CST members will then meet regularly with the congregation's leadership to develop and implement a reasonable and mutually agreed upon action plan.

Q: Will the Church Support Team tell us we have to close our church?

A: The Church Support Team works with congregations to discern the best way forward. Some congregations may discern that closing to be the best option, but this is the congregation's decision, not ours.

Q: The Church Support Team is coming to my congregation. Does that mean we've done something wrong?

A: No, most congregations we work with have been trying very hard to do the “right thing” with too few resources. Our goal is help congregations return to a form of ministry that is stable for them over the long term, not to fault them for doing their best in difficult times.

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