Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a ComparativeInsite Report

02.02.22 | Congregational Development | by Lauren Harris

    Your District Missional Action Planning team (dMAP) is working to ensure that your church has the data it needs to develop meaningful relationships and ministry with your community using  the ComparativeInsite report from MissionInsite.

    One of the first steps in this process is to identify the physical locations of households that influence local church decisions, plans, and policies, ministries, etc. These people have made a personal investment and have a personal interest in the success or failure of the local church. These are the people whose personal needs, habits, and goals impact how ministries are planned or adapted to meet their expectations. 

    1. Baltimore-Washington and Peninsula-Delaware Conference churches can create a MissionInsite account free of charge and gain an orientation to MissionInsite using this resource.
    2. In order to run a ComparativeInsite Report, you must have active members' addresses in an Excel file. Contact Lauren Harris if you need assistance. All people on the list must be both residents and active participants:
      1. Residents: Only include people who are local. Do not include non-resident people (people who have moved away and will not permanently return, even though they may have retained their membership or occasionally give to the church). Some churches keep a list of "inactive members." Do not include any "members" who have not had any involvement with the church in the past five years (i.e. they have not come to any worship, have not participated in any small or large group, have not served any church committee or ministry team, and have not contributed financially). The exception is for any member who is unable to participate by reason of age or infirmity and is included in the church's pastoral care. College students who are members are considered to reside permanently with their parents, and if they have permanently relocated they are now non-resident and should not be included.

      2. Active Participants: Only include active participants. Do not include addresses that are simply on the mailing list. A person is considered "active" if at least one of the following is true: attend worship fairly regularly, participate in a small or large group, serve on a committee or team, or contribute financially. Do not include households that only attend Christmas Eve, or who are just friends of members, and so on.

      3. Rural Churches: We require physical locations. Do not list households simply by a rural route or postal box. At least identify their location by naming the nearest major intersection or nearest small town. Sometimes rural addresses are associated with a lot number.

      4. Urban Churches: Some households are highly mobile and their physical address may change frequently (changing apartments, for example). Churches may have trouble tracking them. Use the most recent address, or at least identify the major intersection where they live.

    3. With your resident, active participants in hand, login to your account and follow the steps in this comprehensive video. While it was developed to support those in the Catalyst Initiative the process and recommended starting point for your study area remain the same. 
      1. 20 minute drive for rural churches
      2. 7 minute walk for suburban churches 
      3. 20 minute walk for urban churches
    4. Tips:
      1. Be sure that the file you are seeking to upload is an Excel file with the headers found in this template. Not all columns need data in them--just the address fields. However, the more data you provide (e.g., individuals not just households) the more different reports and analysis you can run. 
      2. You will know whether or not this step was successful when you see feedback on the screen and via email.
      3. After uploading the file, it can take hours for the congregant plot to be available. Please don't attempt to run the report until you actually see the dots populate. 

    If you need help or have questions, please contact Lauren Harris or your district office.