Evaluation of the New Ministries program

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Thu, 03/01/1990
End Date: 
Sun, 09/30/1990

Allison Stokes of the Hartford Seminary Foundation evaluated the New Ministries Program, a three-year effort to encourage Indiana congregations and parishes to undertake ministries that were new to them, to better understand what brings vitality to congregations. Seventeen churches participated in 1988-89, nineteen in 1989-90, and 15 in 1990-91. Stokes’ evaluation included a dissection of the methods and assumptions of new ministries. She found that the spontaneous and flexible leadership offered to Indiana congregations was as much an asset (in encouraging creativity) as a liability (congregations occasionally floundered unfocused in their freedom). She thoroughly described the effects of the New Ministries Program in congregations, which were overwhelmingly positive, and placed the final evaluations in congregational contexts through her own participation in the congregations. She found that money most significantly catalyzed congregational change and that financial assistance is underestimated in its need and power.(MG)