Hope Partnership has discovered some similar characteristics among the more than 150 congregations who have used the New Beginnings process. For example:
The average New Beginnings congregation is using only 32 percent of its total facility. A New Beginnings assessment has helped these congregations either downsize their facility needs (lowering utility costs) or share the unused portions of their building with another Disciples of Christ congregation.
About 70 percent of the participants in New Beginnings churches are over age 45 — and half are over 65. With the help of a New Beginnings assessment, many of these churches are seeing the need not only to reach new people, but to also welcome younger clergy and laity leadership.
Most New Beginnings churches spend 33 percent of their operating budget on facility costs (utilities, insurance and maintenance). In many cases, a New Beginnings assessment has helped these congregations lower their facility expenses and find more life-giving ways to steward their finances.
The average New Beginnings congregation funds only about three quarters of its budget with congregational offerings. The other quarter comes from savings accounts, building-use income and endowment interest. In other words, New Beginnings congregations are living off the assets of a previous generation. After the assessment process, these churches are finding answers to the question, “How do we become more sustainable for the mission God calls us to today?”