By The Rev Ken Howard, Executive Director
Today’s congregations exist at a pivotal point in the history of the church, an existential crisis of accelerating change and deepening uncertainty driven by forces both inside and outside the church. We believe that congregational vitality is the defining issue for the church in this generation, if not this century, and that congregations – especially small congregations – and their judicatories are rapidly becoming unsustainable in their current forms. Only those with a clear vision, who ground their discernment in data about themselves and the communities they serve, and who are willing to take the risk of experimenting with new ways of being and doing church will survive and thrive in these challenging times.
At FaithX, our core mission is to help faith communities embrace the opportunities inherent in these new realities with agility and wisdom. Yet the greatest challenge we have faced is to bring this kind of help to those who most need it but can least afford it: the small congregations that make up the vast majority of parishes of The Episcopal Church in the United States. This three-year grant from Trinity Wall Street will finally enable us to bridge this gap with a vitality improvement program specifically targeted and tailored to meet the needs of small congregations and the dioceses that support them.
In the near future FaithX will begin accepting applications from Episcopal Dioceses to participate in the program, along with 7-10 of their small congregations. We will train diocesan leadership with using tools such as our Congregational Vitality Assessment – Judicatory Dashboard and Neighborhood Missional Intelligence Reports to triage their congregations, identify those small congregations that could most benefit from the three-year program, and establish a vitality and sustainability baseline for measuring their progress. Finally, another thing this grant will make possible, and which we are very excited about, is our development of the first-ever research-based Judicatory Vitality Assessment tool.
If you think you and your diocese might want to be a part of this ground-breaking project, please contact us at [email protected] and we will keep you informed as eligibility requirements are finalized and the kick-off date draws near.