7 Steps to Improved Vitality

Or what do you do after taking the Congregational Vitality Assessment

by the Rev. Ken Howard

So your leadership team has taken the Congregational Vitality Assessment. You’ve got your diagnostic scores and recommendations in hand, and you’re asking yourselves the question:

Now what?

The next step is to do a Missional Assessment: a seven step process to validate and help your congregation improve its vitality by leveraging its strengths to offset its weaknesses and more effectively engage the missional opportunities and challenges emerging in the neighborhoods you serve.

Here are the steps we recommend:

  1. Review CVA results and recommendations with congregational leadership and with the congregation. Identify your congregation’s 2-3 areas of greatest vitality strength and 2-3 areas of greatest vitality weakness.
  2. Conduct a demographic assessment of the missional opportunities and challenges in the community your congregation serves. Identify the 2-3 greatest missional opportunities and the 2-3 greatest missional challenges.
  3. Find consensus around greatest strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges. Select 1-2 of each.
  4. Identify the areas of congregational vitality strength that you can leverage to effectively engage missional opportunities and challenges in the community, and to effectively address areas of congregational vitality weakness.
  5. Identify strategies to engage identified community opportunities and challenges, and address identified areas of vitality.
  6. Determine which strategies you feel capable pursuing yourselves and which you might need help with.
  7. Implement strategies. Start small, experiment, and build on successes.

The steps may seem simple at first glance. And in a way, they are fairly straightforward. But if you are looking for a quick and easy fix for your congregation’s vitality issues, you’re going to be disappointed, because the process of vitality improvement is neither quick nor easy. 

They’re not going to be quick because you’ve spent years (maybe even decades) getting to where you are today, so improvements aren’t going to happen overnight. Just doing steps 1-6 could take you months. Doing step 7 will take your congregation years, if not the entire lifetime of your congregation.

They’re not going to be easy because carrying them out will involve changing individual and organizational attitudes and behaviors, as well as learning to better understand the stories of your neighborhoods and your congregation’s place in that story.

You can’t change your congregation’s vitality without changing its relationship with your community.

Can you do this by yourselves? Maybe… It depends what strengths you’ve discovered, whether you have the people with the right skills, and most importantly, whether you and your congregation have the willingness to become aware of your biases and the capacity to see into your own blind spots (which for most of us is difficult, if not impossible: after all, the reason we call them “blind spots” is because we’re unable to see them).

If you decide you do need help, we can guide you through the process. We meet with your congregational leadership in four sessions over a 6-8 week period. Think of us as data-sherpas: we bring along the data you will need to climb the mountain effectively, while avoiding common pitfalls and wrong turns. But it IS ultimately YOUR JOURNEY.

Contact us at info@faithx.net for more information about engaging us for a Missional Assessment of your congregation and community or click here to schedule a free 30-min discussion to weigh your alternatives.

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CVA Judicatory Version (by subscription – $1,000 early adopter discount)

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