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By Lyle E. Schaller

Church buildings do not take a seat nonetheless; they're both making plans for the long run or wishing for the prior. but, even if environment approximately to determine the long run into which the Spirit is best, how does a congregation map its approach? How does it comprehend its strengths and weaknesses, possibilities and barriers, presents and graces? In forty four Questions for Congregational Self-Appraisal, Lyle E. Schaller directs the reader to the an important questions a church needs to ask itself whether it is to appreciate its project and the path it needs to chart to be able to in achieving that venture. He is helping pastors, congregational leaders, and strategic making plans teams needless to say the questions we ask and the information we assemble are likely to set our priorities, and hence it will be important to hunt the proper info from the outset. Schaller exhibits church leaders how to not develop into trapped via "means to an finish" questions (real property, staffing, cash, and schedules) and concentration in its place on questions relating to the congregation's particular undertaking (identity, objective, position, and God's name) and message.

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Their full array of Sunday school classes for developmentally disabled children" or ". . their pastor who also is the number one community leader among all the clergy here" or ". . housing the weekly meeting of more than a dozen mutual support groups" or ". . the smallest worship attendance of any church in town" or ". . the largest high school youth group in town" or ". . their full and complete commitment to ecumenism on the local level" or ". . frequently initiating new cooperative interchurch ministries designed to serve the larger community" or ".

Is the death rate going up or down? What is the long-term trend in transfers out? How does the dropout rate compare with previous years? Finally, the figures for losses offer a comparison base for looking at gains. On the average, for every two members who leave a Protestant church by letter of transfer, two others, exclusive of deaths, leave, but a letter of transfer is never requested. This means that the typical congregation must receive twice as many new members by letter of transfer as it loses by transfer if it is to remain on a plateau in size or it must receive an unusually large number of new members by profession of faith.

Provide adequate and convenient off-street parking. Some readers will argue this should be higher on the list--and they may be right. The newer the congregation, the larger the attendance, the younger the people, and the larger the proportion of newcomers among the worshipers, the more important is convenient off-street parking. Likewise it tends to be more important west of Ohio than in New England and more important in the Southwest than in the Southeast. Ideally the congregation will own sixty offstreet parking spaces for every 100 people who worship there on Sunday morning.

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