Scouts are eyes and ears to keep pastors and church leaders informed about what's happening on the Twin Cities spiritual landscape and in other local churches. Informed leaders are better leaders. Instant free online.
This is the data age. When things are complicated, it's almost impossible to make good decisions without good data, even for churches.
Everyone knows that most churches are in trouble today, with declining attendance, income, participation and community influence. But what to do?
Decisions made now are crucial to the future life of the church and require deep understanding of what's happening in culture and demographics, and knowing how successful churches are adjusting ministry for the new environment.
The purpose of Church Scouts is to equip Twin Cities Minnesota pastors and church leaders with strategic data for making better, bolder, faster decisions ... to help overcome fear of change ... to help churches grow in turbulent times ahead.
The most successful organizations are usually the ones with the best data. In the modern world, data drives decisions. Relatively speaking, making good decisions is fast and easy when there's enough good data.
The need for good data is particularly important today because of profound cultural and demographic changes chipping away at our churches.
By itself, no individual church has the time, money or expertise to do intensive community research and data gathering, or to monitor other churches.
But now, time and affordability are no longer issues because Church Scouts makes this research and analysis available at no cost – a ministry to churches!
Church Scouts is a free service to all Twin Cities churches. This is a ministry, funded privately. There are no fees, solicitations, advertising or endorsements.
Now there's one central information center – www.churchscouts.org – serving all Twin Cities churches, without causing any drain on any resources of any church.
All information from Church Scouts is delivered via this website. There are no emails, newsletters, blogs or meetings.
This site keeps pastors and church leaders informed about the Twin Cities' rapidly changing spiritual landscape and how local churches are responding to new conditions.
Church Scouts is not an organization in the usual sense. It is not incorporated, has no office, no employees, no bank account.
Church Scouts is a group of local Christian business professionals who volunteer skills, time and money to help Twin Cities churches.
Church Scouts is a new service, started in 2017.
Richard Lundborg is founder and Team Leader.
Church Scouts has a simple and focused mission: To help Twin Cities churches grow by supplying pastors and church leaders with important data for decision-making.
Answers to most of your questions about church growth can be found in the data.
Church Scouts does not seek publicity or attention. It just does its work quietly in the background.
Scouts cover their own expenses. They serve without remuneration for time and without reimbursement for costs they incur in gathering and analyzing their respective batches of information.
With Church Scouts, there is no registration, tracking, advertising, solicitation or endorsements.
The Church Scouts model eliminates financial pressure. Focus is 100% on the mission, and there is no diversion of effort for fundraising or pleasing vested interests.
Throughout human history, scouts have had an important role in providing leaders with essential information for strategic decisions.
Scouts tell what's happening outside the camp. They identify threats and opportunities, and they pass along good ideas.
In military, they are called forward observers ... in government called intelligence agents ... in business called market researchers ... in athletics called sports scouts ... here, called church scouts.
In this ministry, 'scout' is an informal term. Anyone who provides or processes information reported on this site is regarded as a scout. There is no formal list or count of church scouts.
The network is very fluid, constantly changing, and more connections are added every month.
Data gathering and processing methods are described in the Data Sources section of this site.
Think of Church Scouts as working for you, keeping pastor and church leaders informed with vital information for making major decisions about church growth – the future of your church.
Church Scouts is an independent group of committed Christian volunteers with special skills and connections, learning about each other through referrals and mutual friends, sharing a common concern, and now working together as a team to use their skills and connections to give local churches more and better information, analysis and decision tools.
Church Scouts is not affiliated with any particular church, school, denomination, business or other organization. It is completely independent.
Scouts deal with observed quantifiable facts, not nuances of theology.
A church scout is pleased to work with any church that proclaims that Jesus is Savior and Lord.
Church Scouts exists to promote church growth and serves churches of all denominations, types and sizes.
This website tilts somewhat towards Evangelicals because (1) Evangelicals are the largest block of churches and attenders in the Twin Cities, (2) Evangelicals tend to be most responsive to data, and (3) Evangelicals appear to be the majority of people using this site.
However, Church Scouts gathers relevant facts wherever found and delivers them objectively to whomever interested without regard to theological positions.
The WHOLE CHURCH of the Twin Cities is comprised of more than 3,400 individual congregations.
City Vision, a Church Scouts partner, maintains an active database of 3,417 churches by name, address and approximate attendance by year. In addition, there are probably hundreds of small house churches below the radar.
It's impossible for anyone to know and visit all these individual churches and hold a composite pricture in mind.
The only way anyone can see the WHOLE CHURCH of the Twin Cities is through statistics and reports from scouts.
This site is where church leaders can see the WHOLE CHURCHand track movements of all its major components and influences.
Church Scouts helps facilitate the concept that all believers here are part of the church of the Twin Cities and that we should know about each other and work together.
There are two parts to services offered by Church Scouts:
(1) MACRO VIEW (Twin Cities metro). Everything you see on this site not requiring a password is the macro view, looking outward at the entire Twin Cities spiritual landscape.
(2) MICRO VIEW (your church). Additionally, as an option for churches with 200 or more weekly attendance, Church Scouts offer the micro view, looking inward to see your church with depth and clarity you've never seen before.
Church Scouts has developed a computerized analytics program that converts your data (attendance, finances and staffing) into percentages for easy comprehension and total confidentiality and then displays the percentages visually as 18 comparative graphs, covering every aspect of your church.
Besides helping you see your church from new perspectives, you can also compare your graphs side-by-side with graphs from other Twin Cities churchs to get new insights into what's working and what's not working these days, and for making important decisions about the future of your church.
This analytics service – the micro view – is also free, and it's completely confidential, described in the InsightGraphs section of this site.
In business, summary graphs like InsightGraphs are known as 'the dashboard,' a very important modern instrument for the navigators of any organization.
At a glance, the dashboard tells management how each of the parts are moving and shows where course corrections are needed.
Graphic analytics make decision-making easier because all members of the management team are looking at the same data, and it's easy to understand. There's less debate and hesitation. Discussion moves from opinions and feelings to facts and action, with evidence to back it up. This results in better, bolder, faster decisions.
Until now, only a very few churches – the largest and most affluent – had the money and talent to benefit from modern analytics. But now, Church Scouts offers professional analytics to every church in the Twin cities with 200 or more worship attendance.
It takes only about an hour for your church contact person to gather materials; just send basic information already given to your congregation, in whatever form reported. Then, as a ministry, Church Scouts does everything else, even the reformatting, data entry and online serving.
The learning curve for understanding how to read the graphs is only about five minutes! Once learned, all InsightGraphs are in the same format – five years' data, with your church compared side-by-side on each metric with five other local churches.
On nearly every board and council, there are members who use a dashboard regularly in business, education or government. They will be delighted to explain the many uses of InsightGraphs to other members not yet familiar with an operations dashboard.
Here are some benefits from using services offered on this site:
SEE the WHOLE CHURCH of the Twin Cities, learn what's happening with the 3,400+ individual congregations,
COUNT attenders (believers) by affiliation group,
TRACK church trends, social trends and demographic trends,
UNDERSTAND Millennials and Gen Zs,
LEARN what's working and not working in other churches,
SPOT problems and opportunities, get new ideas,
COMPARE your percentages (attendance, finances and staffing) with other churches,
FACILITATE collaboration between churches,
RETRIEVE full set of essential facts at board and council meetings; have materials for explaining to others, and
IMPROVE training; bring new staff and board members up to speed fast; excellent discussion content for leadership retreats.
See Benefits section for more reasons for using Church Scouts for help in planning church growth.
Church Scouts does not know of any other metro area in the entire world having an information and data network for local churches as complete and modern as this one. This is unique to the Twin Cities.
There is no intent to expand this Church Scouts team of volunteers beyond the Twin Cities, but hopefully business professionals in other cities will notice and create similar service groups in their areas.
The reason for starting Church Scouts in 2017 was that most Twin Cities churches are under considerable stress: 86% are stalled or declining, only 14% are growing.
This is more than a dip. This is a long-term accelerating trend, a major paradigm shift, requiring better information and new thinking.
Loss of attendance is a leading indicator of other losses that follow: loss of commitment, loss of income, loss of participation and loss of community influence.
Losing disciples faster than making them is the exact opposite of Jesus' instructions to make disciples.
Church Scouts was created to provide vital information for major decisions needed to reverse the trend.
Church Scouts gives local pastors and church leaders greater awareness and understanding of social changes occurring in the community and actions being taken by other churches.
In recent years, enormous progress has been made in data analysis and information technology. Now Church Scouts captures these modern tools and makes them available to local churches.
Church Scouts believes that we should give at least as much diligence to managing our churches as we give to managing our businesses.
The graph below is the most important graph on this site. In the Twin Cities, generation by generation, it shows how Christians are losing ground steadily to 'Nones' (no religious affiliation).
The clear message in this graph is the reason for Church Scout's existence and the motivation for everything reported on this site.
Church Scouts is committed to helping reverse the trend by supplying pastors and church leaders with strategic data for making better, bolder, faster decisions.