EP Update: Hidden Opportunities in the Pandemic

EP 16 Findings and a Call for Volunteer Respondents

If you are a regular reader of the FaithX blog, you will know that we are working with TryTank Experimental Laboratory in a “proof-of-concept” experiment called Episcopal Pulse, the purpose of which is to keep a finger on the pulse of The Episcopal Church through weekly, rapid-response microsurveys.

Our most recent microsurvey (#16), completed last Friday, asked asked this question:

In what areas of congregational life
have you found hidden opportunities in the disruption caused by the pandemic?


Raw Findings (N=322):

  • Administration – None: 103 | Some: 163 | Many: 49 | Very Many: 7
  • Discipleship & Formation – None: 45 | Some: 172 | Many: 89 | Very Many: 16
  • Evangelism – None: 76 | Some: 162 | Many: 68 | Very Many: 16
  • Outreach: Social Justice – None: 95 | Some: 134 | Many: 65 | Very Many: 28
  • Outreach: Community Service & Partnerships – None: 66 | Some: 156 | Many: 74 | Very Many: 26
  • Property/Building Use – None: 142 | Some: 136 | Many: 35 | Very Many: 9
  • Worship & Spirituality – None: 22 | Some: 135 | Many: 125 | Very Many: 40
  • Other – None: 233 | Some: 55 | Many: 24 | Very Many: 10

Summary of Findings:

Most Episcopalians see few hidden opportunities in the disruption cause by in the pandemic. In all but one area, the majority of respondents (by at least a two-to-one margin) said they had found few, if any hidden opportunities in the disruption caused by the pandemic. The exception was Worship and Spirituality, for which a bare majority of respondents said they had found “many” or “very many” hidden opportunities in the pandemic disruption.

Insights (What does this tell us?)

Personally, I find these results disheartening but not surprising, except in their starkness. There are several ways we can interpret these findings.

Entrepreneurial Insight? Over the last decade or so, business and nonprofit sectors have come to the understand that any disruptions contain hidden opportunities, and the key to success in an uncertain and rapidly is to recognize and harvest those opportunities. Could it be that the vast majority of church leadership simply lacks the ability (or interest) to see past their investment in prevailing paradigms and perceive disruption-based opportunities (aka Paradigm blindness).

Adaptive Leadership? Could it be that too many church leaders (and their congregations) simply do not have the ability to see the opportunities presented by disruption but lack the adaptive capacity to to engage them?

Spirit of Innovation? Could it be that too many church leaders (and their congregations) lack sufficient outside-the-box thinking to innovate new ways of being and doing church?

Formation? Could it be that our ministry discernment and theological education processes are weeding out too many candidates that possess the above qualities.

For Reflection

Which of these results confirm your perceptions?

Which of these results surprise you?

What do these results reveal to you?

From time to time we need to replenish our respondent pool

Know an Episcopalian who might be interested in being an Episcopal Pulse volunteer respondent?Send them this registration link: