It has already been more than ten years since the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has commissioned the Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research (ASTR) to conduct and coordinate research in different areas of church life and ministry. Church leadership recognizes a need for professional research into the operations of organizations and programs, to determine the effectiveness of initiatives established to fulfill specific purposes within the overall mission of the Church.
Evaluating the mission effectiveness of church programs, agencies, and organizations is based on the philosophy that all denominational entities are vital parts of the global Seventh-day Adventist Church. They share common beliefs, a common mission, and the same confidence in the Second Coming of Jesus. Each organization, agency or program should be able to demonstrate that its use of resources and its scope of activity achieve the purposes for which it was established.
Further, all plans, programs, and objectives should be in harmony with the mission of the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church. Since the performance of any one denominational entity inevitably has an impact on the functioning and resources of the whole, it is in the interest of the whole Church that the effectiveness of organizations and programs be reviewed from time to time and that the results of such reviews be factored into future planning. Do you have on your organizational level a regular assessment of programs or Adventist organizations’ effectiveness?
The objectives of evaluating mission effectiveness are to:
- Improve the effectiveness of mission to those outside the Seventh-day Adventist Church
- Enhance pastoral ministry to, and discipling of, church members
- Assist denominational organizations and denominationally-funded programs to achieve optimal efficiency
- Perform data analysis, identifying strengths and weaknesses of denominational entities or programs in relation to their mission objectives
- Provide an informed basis for global strategic planning and integrated evangelism
- Understand current trends, facts, and growth potential in church life and ministry
- Motivate necessary changes
Based on assignments determined by the General Conference administration, ASTR has conducted several evaluations of denominational organizations and programs starting in 2012. These evaluations were not intended to result in structural or departmental changes. They focused on the specific purpose of each organization or program in the context of the Church’s mission. Every denominational agency or organization could do its own self-evaluation. Each ministry or department or entity would greatly benefit from assessing its progress in achieving Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and writing a Critical Self-Study (CSS) on its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges, assessing its own mission effectiveness. Preferably, each denominational entity would carry out its own process of self-evaluation on an ongoing basis. This should result in the continual improvement of its performance and fulfillment of its mission.
The ASTR Research and Evaluation team shares below its vision and mission statements. They could become statements of your organization unless it wants to develop its own.
ASTR Research & Evaluation Vision Statement
Seventh-day Adventist entities, in order to enhance the mission effectiveness of each entity, and the overall harmonious and efficient operation of the global Adventist Church as “God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men” (EGW, Acts of Apostles, 9).
ASTR Research & Evaluation Mission Statement
To assist the Seventh-day Adventist Church in analyzing, evaluating, and enhancing the mission-effectiveness of its agencies, programs, and ministries.
Published by ASTR on 02/23/2022