ORLANDO— The Technology Challenge breakout sessions during the Challenge 2025 gathering at First Baptist Orlando Feb. 22 drew 115 people and introduced a newly licensed demographics program available for free to Florida Baptist churches.
Led by Florida Baptist Convention Director of Strategic Initiatives Micah Ferguson, the breakout session gave attendees a detailed demonstration of MissionInSite by ACST Technologies. At the end of the two sessions, participants received a registration key to gain access to the program for their churches.
The demographics cloud-based platform is underwritten by Cooperative Program funds and is offered at no cost to Florida Baptist churches.
Unlike the data obtained from other demographics programs, the data produced by MissionInSite helps churches cross-analyze their organization and community, map their members, gain insight into stewardship, see their rate of penetration into the community, and much more.
“The number one problem in our world, nation, state, and neighborhood is lostness,” Ferguson said. “Marketers know us very well and they plan strategically to better target us.”
Churches should have access to the same valuable information not to sell a product, but to share the Gospel and serve their communities more effectively, he said.
Dan Glenn, senior pastor at Stetson Baptist Church in DeLand, accessed the program before it was launched statewide. He said he was challenged by the data that showed people “outside the church don’t think people in the church behave like Jesus.”
He also found that people in his community are lonely, depressed, struggling with their mental health, and concerned about Covid.
“We have to demonstrate Jesus’s love to the community,” he said.
One way to do that is to build connections between similar lifestyle groups within and outside the church. Lifestyle groups can be targeted to specialized segments, such as parents with three kids or dog owners.
The information revealed by MissionInSite can lead to “ouch moments,” said Ferguson. A long-running church program may be discovered to be ineffective or unnecessary. But it can also reveal opportunities to better serve the community.
Ferguson ended the session with an illustration using a domino piece. One domino can connect two different pieces, he explained. So, too, can believers stand in the gap and build a bridge between their church and their community.
The information found in MissionInSite can help, he said.