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THE FUTURE OF FAITH-BASED SERVICE: GROUP CONCEPT MAPPING

As we consider a vision of faith-based service grounded in justice that empowers individuals and communities…

Faith-based service programs are faced with major decisions about the future. Those caring about the transformative impact of service can lead, adapt, and empower in new ways. The best aspects of our models can also inspire those beyond the service arena. Therefore, in 2021 CVN invited member organizations and partners to inform our strategic planning. The goal was to begin charting a vision for the future of faith-based service.

CVN utilized a process known as GroupConcept Mapping, which helps a large group of stakeholders offer, explore, and organize ideas about a topic of interest. It allows ideas to be represented visually in the form of a map, which can be interpreted to generate useful, practical information that guides planning.

For the first step, hundreds of leaders were offered the chance to respond to a specific prompt:

The world continues to change in ways that invite serious reflection and vision from people of faith. We acknowledge that some models of faith-based service are ineffective in addressing, and at times unintentionally perpetuate, systemic injustice. As we consider a vision of faith-based service grounded in justice that empowers individuals and communities, we invite you to suggest one important element of a new approach to faith-based service centered on justice.

Nearly 400 participants responded. Their ideas began a multi-stage process combining human insight (sorting, ranking, agreeing on terminology) with data driven mapping techniques. Of particular interest from the resulting data and input is a Cluster Rating Map showing that the focus areas of most interest are:

  • Increasing Focus on Community Needs and Impact
  • Educating about Anti-Racism and Justice
  • Dismantling Unjust Service Models
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