Disciple Maker Index Part 2

Last week we began to share information on St. Monica Parish from the “Disciple Maker Index” (or DMI). We began examining how St. Monica scored well as compared to other parishes in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We also listed areas where the parish can improve. This week, let’s examine how the DMI scores for St. Monica changed from 2017 to 2019:

St. Monica “Top 5 Favorable Changes” in 2019 vs 2017 were:

  • Parish Life - “I Would Recommend The Parish Religious Education Program.” The 2019 score (63% of respondents answering “highly favorable”) was a 90% improvement. It was not only far above the Archdiocesan average of 42%, it was actually in line with the three highest parish scores nationwide!
  • Personal Faith - “How Frequently I Attended a Class/Workshop” - 14% responded “highly favorable.” This was a 75% improvement over 2017 and 8% above the archdiocesan average.
  • Community – “My Parish Follows-up To My Requests In How I Can Become Involved” In 2017, this was one of our lowest scores. The 2019 score (at 25% “Highly Favorable”) was a 47% improvement, although still below the archdiocesan average of 28%.
  • Community – “The Parish Offers Opportunities To Serve Others” This was another area where we scored low in 2017. The 2019 score (at 35% “Highly Favorable”) was a 35% improvement over our 2017 score, although we are still below the archdiocesan average of 39%.
  • Spiritual Growth – “The Parish Helps Me Grow Via Small Groups” - The 2019 result of 23% is a 44% improvement over 2017. It is slightly above the archdiocesan average of 22%.

Besides the results above, there was a significant positive change in other areas:

  • People “Spending Regular Time in Individual Prayer:” 91% positive in 2019 vs. 80% in 2017.
  • “People Sharing Their Personal (Faith) Story:” 42% positive in 2019 vs. 33% in 2017.
  • “Confidence In The Teachings Of The Church:” 54% positive in 2019 vs. 47% in 2017.
  • “Growing As A Disciple” and “Growing In A Personal Relationship With Jesus:” 67% in 2019 vs. 59% in 2017.
  • “Belief That Scripture Is The Word Of God:”93% positive in 2019 vs. 88% in 2017.

Why are these points important? They reflect significant growth in spiritual maturity. They show strengthening of people’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ. These are the key components in growing as an intentional disciple of the Lord.

As I mentioned above, Religious Education showed significant improvement. This improvement was seen from 2017 to 2019. St. Monica Religious Ed also scored well when compared to other parishes in the archdiocese – even nationally. Two years ago Jason, Meghan, and Diane recommended a radical change in our approach to Religious Education. The parish supported the change to a “small group” format. We invested significant resources to support the changes. We added new processes and communication formats to assist people to easily engage with us. This included Flocknote, revisions to the website and new sign-up forms.

Investments were made in existing programs. This included resources for Walking With Purpose, Alpha along with a new program (That Man Is You). Finally, we provided more support for our Service and Outreach Ministry. This ministry is currently under the leadership of Bridget Cowell and Michelle Manning.

There were other areas were positive trends were seen, although the changes in scores were less significant.

The key message in this week’s recap: The parish determined areas where the parish prioritized the need for improvement. It invested in these areas. We took sustained action. The result was measurable improvement. Next week we’ll focus on areas that merit special focus. Specifically this includes, music, liturgy and hospitality.

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