Meet Curt Watke & IICM

Dr. Curt Watke

Dr. Watke offers a demographic treasure trove, some which you can buy and some which is free. It is more than just a list of populations inside a geographic area. One is given a wide variety of information with descriptions of how it helps you know how to reach your community.

Curt Watke is Founder and Executive Director (since July 2003) of The Intercultural Institute for Contextual Ministry, Inc. (IICM). On their web site, they describe themselves as “the parent organization of various free-content projects, most notably the Missional Cyclopedia, the free online missional encyclopedia and the Missional Library, the free online missional file repository, and the Missional Corps, a free social networking site for missional believers; and various fee-based content projects, most notably the Missional Culturescape, a first-of-its-kind, mapping website featuring many datasets to further the missional movement (coming soon), the Missional Context, a major source for cutting edge community and congregational missional research, and the Missional Coach, a site for training missional mentors and connecting with them.”

The State Conventions in Alabama, Mississippi, and North Carolina, for example, have purchased their paid demographic information. But if you are not a resident of one of those states, you can access much free material from IICM which is very helpful.

Among their offerings is a site called, Missional Corps. Free registration is required and there is a delay of a few days for your approval, but it is worth the wait.

The site offers an interface with some Google-like features, but it is the information about your Zip Code that, for me, is the stand-out feature. You have to click on a drop-down menu at the top to access the information. There are several different reports; they include:

Under CommunityScape

Socioscape: The Social Topography of My Zip Code.

The “social environment” refers to an estimate of the number of households in your zip code that live in specific types of communities. These types of communities are the social contexts in which people live.

Ethnoscape: The Ethnic Topography of My Zip Code.

The “racial / ethnic categories ” refers to an estimate of the number of people in your zip code that belong to specific racial or ethnic categories as defined by the United States Census Bureau and the Federal Office of Management and Budget.

Demoscape: The Social Topography of My Zip code.

This includes breakdowns of age groups, economic groups, education, and family types.

Futurescape: The Projected Topography of My Zip code.

This is the same information as above and the projection (and changes) in these populations in five years.

Under MissionScape

Evangelscape: The Spiritual Topography of My Zip Code.

This section reports the percentage of unreached in a zip code. The “unreached status” refers to an estimate of the number of households in your zip code that do not consider themselves to be an evangelical Christian. An evangelical Christian is a person who professes to have accepted Jesus Christ as his or her personal Lord and Savior.

Cultural Bridges: The Connectional Topography of My Zip Code.

Cultural bridges are those characteristics that could be used to build relationships with people in the lifestyle group. Various activities, interests, or opinions (AIO) represented among the consumer behavior characteristics of the lifestyle group offer ways for believers to build relationships with people in the lifestyle group and through that relationship impact them for Christ.

Cultural Barriers: The Connectional Topography of My Zip Code.

Cultural barriers are those values, attitudes or behaviors (VAB) of people in the lifestyle group that might be a barrier to Christians establishing a relationship with them. Some cultural barriers tend to become a barrier to the group’s understanding or acceptance of Christ.

Cultural Themes: The Connectional Topography of My Zip Code.

Cultural themes are themes or topics that arise out of the culture of a group that could be used to more effectively present the gospel and the biblical message of discipleship. Cultural themes enable the message to become “relevant” to the hearers. What “themes” or topics arise out of their culture that we could use in our presentation of the gospel that would help them to understand it better?

Shared Places: The Connectional Topography of My Zip Code.

Cultural places are places or topics that arise out of the culture of a group that could be used to more effectively present the gospel and the biblical message of discipleship. Cultural places enable the message to become “relevant” to the hearers

Shared Projects: The Connectional Topography of My Zip Code.

Shared projects are those social or community projects in which people from the lifestyle group are involved that Christians could join in with them as a means of developing relationships while “serving with them.”

Shared Media: The Connectional Topography of My Zip Code.

This includes information about what books and magazines people read and their preferences for radio and television.

Shared Times: The Connectional Topography of My Zip Code.

Shared times are those social or community times in which people from the lifestyle group are involved that Christians could join in with them as a means of developing relationships while “serving with them.”

Motivescape: The Social Topography of My Zip code.

The Motivescape™ Segmentation was developed by Dr. Curt Watke to enable ministry practitioners in the contextualization of both their missional message and ministries. Much of what is said and done in the name of Christianity today seems “foreign” to the eyes and ears of a post-Christian North America. The motivations of those that need to hear the gospel need to be taken into account when the gospel is presented. Sharing the gospel in light of the hearer’s motivational values enables the gospel to address the dominant values that will need to be transformed by the gospel. “Christianity will be perceived as relevant to the extent that it is contextualized to present the gospel message and deliver ministry programming in terms of an individual’s salient [prominent] values.”

Needscape: The Issues Topography of My Zip Code.

Needs listed include poverty rate, common medical ailments, psychological disorders, most commonly prescribed drugs, and diet considerations.

Specialscape: The Disability Topography of My Zip code.

The “disability groups” refers to an estimate of the number of people in your zip code that have some type of disability. The Census Bureau defines disability in terms of six disability categories: sensory disabilities, physical disabilities, mental disabilities, self-care disabilities, go-outside-home disabilities, and employment disabilities. The Census Bureau identifies the population with disabilities as those who report that they have at least one of six disabilities.

There are also some free articles in this section of IICM’s family of web sites that give one insights into how to use the information.

You can purchase a Missional Zip Code Catalogue for $25 by going

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