Is your congregation more engaged than ever with your local community? If so, it could well mean that you have more questions than ever. How do you assess the needs of your neighborhood? How do you collect information about what social services might be lacking in your community? Once you gather such data, how do you analyze the information? This website answers these questions and more in practical ways. This toolkit of assessment activities was developed by the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas. It was not written with congregations in mind, yet a congregational local mission team can learn much about assessment of needs by doing just a few of the suggested activities. Some 15 assessment methods are introduced. Choose three and you will be on your way to considering new and innovative possibilities. Perhaps you will perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis, or create a community report card; or maybe your team will try something called a “photovoice project”. Is your congregation getting serious about community engagement? If so, these tools will help you assess voids that you may be called upon to fill.
Reviewed by Tim Shapiro