Congregational Vitality Assessment: A Free Tool for Determining the Health and Sustainability of Faith Communities


“He who has himself as a doctor has a fool as a patient.”

Or so the old saying goes. And like most proverbs, it contains a lot of wisdom. It never turns out well when people self-diagnose and self-treat, because they have neither the necessary knowledge nor essential objectivity, and at the same time have such prodigious expertise at hiding from themselves things they are afraid to face.

The same is true for congregations. It is hard for most congregations to dispassionately evaluate their own congregational health. The passion that fuels their engagement with their mission also robs them of emotional distance and objectivity. Their passionate desire for the future of their own beloved community may blind them to symptoms of unsustainability.

But perhaps most fundamentally, they have lacked a research-based, empirical foundation upon which to evaluate their health. Until now…

After more than a decade of weighing the research on congregational vitality, in late November FaithX Research is releasing in beta form our newly-developed self-assessment tool: the Congregational Vitality Assessment (or CVA).

The CVA provides a congregation with two scores:

  • Vitality: How healthy the congregation is.
  • Sustainability: Whether the congregation has the people and the financial and contextual resources necessary support itself.

The Vitality score examines 10 aspects of congregational life:

  1. Vision, Mission, & Discernment
  2. Lay Engagement & Empowerment
  3. Context Awareness & Inclusion
  4. Change Readiness
  5. Dealing with Differences
  6. Spiritual Life & Worship
  7. Formation, Education, & Training
  8. Outreach
  9. Leadership & Organization
  10. Stewardship

The Sustainability score examines 2 aspects of sustainability:

  1. Congregational Sustainability: The ability of the congregation to support itself.
  2. Community Sustainability: The ability of the community to support a congregation.

The Congregational Vitality Assessment is based on five primary research sources and more than 40 secondary sources.

The CVA takes about 30 minutes to finish. It can be completed by a single congregational leader, a congregational leadership group, or the entire congregation. It can be done as a standalone exercise or as part of an intentional congregational vitality consultation.

It is available for free download in PDF and XLS versions.

All we ask is that you provide us your feedback.

Send your feedback on your use of the Congregational Vitality Assessment to Ken Howard at

If you’d like to explore with Ken’s availability for coaching, consultation, or presentations, contact him at or 301-704-3290.

Read the Research

If you like to read one of the research reports which gave rise to the Congregational Vitality Assessment, click here to download a copy of The Religion Singularity

Or click here to watch the 3-minute summary video.