In December 2020, CMO staff sought to intentionally listen for missional opportunities with clergy in a series of Focus Groups with Rural, Suburban and Metro leaders. In each of these gatherings, participants were asked four questions and their responses were collected:
- What needs among your neighbors are you seeing?
- What opportunities for ministry with your neighbors are emerging?
- What is God calling local churches to do in response? (Individually or Collectively)
- What might the CMO do to inspire, equip or connect local churches for this work?
In early February, CMO staff reconvened these Focus Groups to share initial plans to respond to the two priority focus areas:
- Mental Health concerns were listed as needs across all demographic groups for both congregants, clergy and neighbors. The variety of chaplains, congregational care teams, church produced podcasts and media, and connections to organizations like The Center for Integrative Psychology and Counseling present strong possibilities for collective impact.
- Food Security was recognized as a common issue for congregants and neighbors across North Texas. And food-related ministries are one common denominator for congregations. Churches often host pantries, food giveaways, community gardens, meal programs, etc. Within the NTC there are an abundance of connections to leaders and organizations who can help us think even more deeply about food security. Perhaps we can use these assets to begin to build food justice, in light of how fragile food systems became during COVID-19.
Design Teams will convene around each of these focus areas to discern ways we can take action immediately, and throughout the next year. Additionally, groups requested that the CMO host calls around specific topics like mental health, food security and other topics named in the focus groups. Stay tuned for these and other ways you can engage your community!