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Context Guide | Study Guide for the Context Report
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Learning from a Sample Report
In order to prepare for understanding your own report, here is a sample exercise to get you started. Illustrations used are from a sample Context Report. In this example the church membership is 115 and the community population being explored is 342,885. There is an example from each of the seven sections of Context with a narrative explanation of the data. Read through these, stopping to reflect on the questions that may be raised. Remember that the data always needs to be examined in light of what you know about the congregation. For instance – In Part 3 of your Context Report, Gap Theme #11 it indicates that the family structure of the community is extremely non-traditional and that the congregation is very non-traditional. This question is based on the number of single parent households. Since the congregation in this report is considerably older, one can assume that the single parents are widows or widowers, not younger divorced or never married parents. Therefore, “very non-traditional” takes on a different interpretation! When confronting a puzzling piece of data, it’s helpful to reflect on what factors might be involved. After you’ve completed this exercise, you’ll be ready to move ahead with reading your own report.
Part 1 | The Community
In reading this part of the report you will see that Survivors are the major generational group represented in this Context Report. Notice on the black summary bar that Survivors are 23-43 years old. You will also see the ages of the other generational groups listed on this bar as well. If the terms describing the generations, Silents, Boomers, etc., are unfamiliar to you, a descriptor of each is found in the SourceBook.
The narrative text to the left and underneath the summary bar tells you that this generation makes up 33.1% of the population in the area you’re studying. This is higher than the U.S. average of 28.4 %. The graph to the right shows you that it is actually 5% above the U.S. But there’s more important information here as well – look at the bottom of that graph to see who isn’t living in this area. There are 5% less Boomers, 4% less Silents and 1% less Builders than the U.S. average.
What does this mean? It means that there are a significant number of young adults living in this area. What implications do you think this might have for ministry?