Vital congregations exude a certain kind of vibrancy, a friendly welcoming manner, and a tangible sense of God’s presence. Those who attend regularly have a sense of purpose. They support each other by nurturing one another’s faith and helping each other identify their spiritual gifts. They use those gifts in the congregation and the world. They intentionally connect with the wider Christian community and within their local context to share the good news in word and deed by striving to be God’s hands in the world.
While connections with God, each other and the world are key to what it means to be church, it isn’t usually isn’t how we measure vitality. We usually turn to statistics like growth in members, financial stability, how many programs there are, etc. At the same time, in our guts we know that equating numeric growth with vitality falls short.
The Congregational Vitality Survey is a simple, statistically reliable tool developed by ELCA Research and Evaluation Department. The answers to survey questions are used to compute an index or report which is made up of different scales. Each scale describes a different aspect of a congregation’s vitality in three areas:
- How members are connecting with God through examining spiritual growth.
- How members are connecting with each other through examining the social climate.
- How members are connecting with the world through examining faith in action.
For more information about using the Congregational Vitality Survey in your congregation, contact Bishop Mark Narum.