Of course, you are already an asset, but your congregation can increase its impact as an asset in the Episcopal Branch of the Jesus Movement by participating in the Asset Mapping Project. I learned a great deal about this project in a workshop at the Episcopal Communicators Conference last April that I am eager to share with you here.
The Episcopal Asset Map, a joint project of The Episcopal Church and Episcopal Relief & Development, is an online platform showing the location and ministries of Episcopal churches, schools and other communities in all 99 dioceses in the US states. As it states on its website, https://episcopalassetmap.org:
The map is a powerful tool that allows you to see not only what is happening around your diocese, but also what is going on in neighboring dioceses and around the Church. The map can help you build networks with people interested and involved in similar ministries so you can share ideas and strategies, or it can be a jumping off point for entirely new directions. In times of disaster or emergency, the map will serve as a framework for assessment and response, showing a disaster’s impact and how local bodies are responding. At all times, the map can serve as a platform to connect and inspire.
Your congregation has a marker already in place on the Episcopal Asset Map. Go to https://newark.episcopalassetmap.org to see the Diocese of Newark markers. Then get ready to use this map to tell about your church.
The Communications Director in the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, Vicki Ix, created a step-by-step plan to help congregations in her diocese enter into this project. To fill out your Episcopal Asset Map Survey:
- Go to the website: https://episcopalassetmap.org.
- Click on “EXPLORE MY DIOCESAN MAP” in the lower left corner.
- Use the dropdown menu to find your diocese and then hit “GO.”
- Find your pin on the diocesan map. You may need to use the “+” button to zoom in the view as pins can look bunched up. Or click “listview” to find your church on an alphabetized list.
- Click on your pin.
- Click on the highlighted name of your congregation, school, or other Episcopal ministry.
- The ministry page will open. Find the red “SUGGEST EDITS” button.
- Click on it and begin filling in information. Remember, you don’t have to fill out the whole survey at once! Start with a description of your Episcopal community and add details like service times and a picture.
- Check the appropriate boxes and fill in information about your ministries. If you have pictures of your ministries, add them!
- Do a simple math problem to prove you aren’t a robot, then hit the “SUBMIT” button at the very bottom of the survey. A thank-you message will appear to confirm your submission. If this does not appear, your information has not been submitted. Do the math again and hit submit again.
- Your submission will be sent to the Diocesan Map Administrator for approval. Once it has been approved, your work will be displayed on the Asset Map!
Bonus: Click “ADD MEDIA” in the blue navigation bar if you want to add videos or newspaper articles to spice up your page.
Vicki included several tips for ways to get your congregation started.
- Gather the information you need for the survey at your next vestry meeting.
- Connect youth group members with older lay leaders and have them work together to tell the story about a particular ministry.
- Collect images of your ministry and congregation to help populate your page.
- Fill out the survey in stages. You don’t have to add all of the information at once!
- Coffee hour is a great time to collect stories and find volunteers to fill out a section of the survey.