Churches in the Mississippi Conference have a great tool to help assess their health - the A2 Indicators. Short for Acts 2, the A2 Indicators provide a snapshot of congregational wellness and ministry effectiveness, based on 12 areas of church life: servant ministries, core values, baptisms and professions of faith, internal dialogue/levels of conflict, pastoral tenure, ministries to children and students, worship attendance, giving, fiscal resources, connectional stewardship, attendee tenure, and condition of facilities.
The first step in using the A2 Indicators is a four-week study of the four themes found in Acts 2:42-47. Daily Scripture passages and focus questions will guide churches as they reflect on what makes a congregation healthy.
All churches in the conference began their A2 assessment in the fall of 2006 and reported the results at 2006 charge conferences. The A2 assessment replaced the charge conference "State of the Church" report.
"The A2 process will evoke a helpful conversation in each local church,” said Bishop Hope Morgan Ward. “Some of the questions will be familiar. Others will be new. None will be complicated or difficult. In working with the 12 areas identified in the A2 process, each congregation will identify areas of strength and areas that might be strengthened for ministry.”
Ward believes using A2 will enable the conference to partner better with the local church. “The purpose of the annual conference is to strengthen local churches,” she said. “The local church is the mission station of the United Methodist connection! It will be good to continue to share ideas that are working, missions that are unfolding, persons who are being blessed. We continue to learn from one another in the family of the annual conference."
Churches that have completed their A2 assessment will begin the A29 Smart Plan. For more information, contact Dr. Embra Jackson, email@example.com.
In 2007, the Mississippi United Methodist Advocate is running a series of articles on the different A2 Indicators. Here are the articles published to date:
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and good and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
— Acts 2:42-47