CHAMPS--CHURCH HEALTH ASSESSMENT AND MOBILIZATION PLANNING STRATEGY
“Church Health Assessment and Mobilization Planning Strategy!” Now that’s a mouthful! Baptists are good at acronyms—SBC, IMB, NAMB, WMU, RA, GA… The amazing thing is that we learn to respect these acronyms for the wonderful ministries they represent and the acronyms take on value and meaning for us. That is the goal of the Church Health Group at the South Carolina Baptist Convention—that every South Carolina Baptist will know the meaning of the CHAMPS acronym, but more importantly, the value of the CHAMPS process.
CHAMPS is not another “program.” CHAMPS is the acronym for a tremendous process with great potential that is sinking deep roots in South Carolina Baptist churches. Don Matthews came to South Carolina in 2007 to develop a church health initiative or process to help churches that were struggling, plateauing, or declining.
The best way to describe the process is the way it was originally presented— very much like a visit to the doctor’s office to make an assessment of physical health. People sometimes go to the doctor to make sure that they are healthy as they can be, and sometimes because they are pretty sure that something is wrong, but most often because they know something is wrong and they need relief from the pain. When church leaders call the Church Health Office “to see the doctor,” it is generally because they realize that something is just not right or they are “painfully” aware that it is not.
CHAMPS is a great process for determining the present state of church health and developing a plan for each church to move toward better health for Kingdom growth. The CHAMPS process was developed as an initiative to assist the local church in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission by focusing on the attributes of a biblical, healthy church. A healthy church is one that is actively pursuing excellence in the six functions of the church as described in Acts 2:42-47. These functions are worship, evangelism, discipleship, prayer, ministry and fellowship.
The CHAMPS process is designed to help the local church identify the current level of health in each of the six functions. The process is based on providing customized consulting in the areas of prayer (corporate and personal), encouragement (relevant and practical), resources (customized and reproducible) and coaching (mentoring, training, tracking, and multiplying leaders).
CHAMPS includes a consultant-led process to determine the attitude, perceptions and beliefs of the average church member as it relates to the six functions of the church. The church health consultant works with the pastor, staff and a church-appointed Church Health Task Force to initiate, implement, evaluate and recommend a church health strategy to assist the church in moving to the next level. Even the healthiest church can benefit from the process as it moves to a level of better health.
The initial process takes about three months. During the first month, data is gathered and preparations are made for training the Church Health Task Force and the Collaborative Workshop. The data includes a look at the last five, ten or twenty year statistics of the church. A three- or five-mile demographic study is done to help give an analysis of the community around the church. The congregation then takes the Strength Development Index analysis which gives data of how members perceive the church is doing in the six functions of the church.
During the second month, the consultant leads the church through the Collaborative Workshop. The workshop is a conversation-based workshop where members hear the statistical data, discuss its meaning and begin to allow God to speak to them about what He wants to do in the church and how the church is going to follow His leading.
In the third month, all the findings are brought together with the Church Health Task Force for the development of clear vision, strategies and action plans to reach the vision. The Task Force uses these to help the church move to a better level of health and have a greater Kingdom impact. The consultant walks with the church through this process until they have clear vision and strategies in place.
At the conclusion of the process, the consultant writes the results of the process in an executive report which gives observations and suggestions intended to help the church move to a better level of health. If the consultant believes some other available initiatives would help the church, he suggests them. One such initiative is the Intentional Church Multiplication Process (ICMP—there’s another one of those acronyms).
Everyone loves a great report from the doctor. Schedule your “physical” today by calling the Church Health Group at the South Carolina Baptist Convention, 800.723.7242 or 803.765.0030. Email Jerry Sosebee at firstname.lastname@example.org or Joe Youngblood at email@example.com.
Your church will be healthier for it.