What’s the Rub?

By Mary C. Frances, Senior Associate Consultant

This past summer, my husband and I were blessed to visit a friend who has a cottage near Lake Michigan.  The “cottage” is really just an older home that saw better days probably back in the 1980’s.  On our way home, my husband commented about the bathroom door that stuck every time someone tried to close it.  You see, the tile floor had heaved a bit right by the door obstructing best efforts to get in or out of the bathroom.  My husband wondered why our friend didn’t just fix it.  Why not, he said, just plane the bottom of the door so it doesn’t stick anymore?  Or repair the floor?  Hmmm, why indeed?

Shortly after we arrived home I went into our own bathroom and realized that this door also stuck, due to humidity not a problem with the floor, but getting the door to close all the way took quite an effort.  Did my husband even notice that the same problem with a door was right in our own home?  Of course not.  He had become accustomed to the rub, he had acclimated to the problem and found ways around the issue – just as our friend had in his cottage – just as we all do when faced with problems we don’t want to address.

After many years of working with judicatories and congregations, I think I can safely say that we all have our “rubs” that we have adapted to.  Perhaps it’s something in the physical plant that doesn’t work correctly anymore such as doors that stick or shrubs that have gotten overgrown.  Maybe it’s the lack of leaders or financial resources or human resources that keeps you from living out God’s call.  The reasons are vast, but we all have rubs – some minor, some major – that hold us back.  Some of those rubs may be obvious but some are a bit more hidden, particularly if we have been acclimated to it for a long time.  

The Congregational Vitality Assessment provides the opportunity to hold a mirror up to your gathered community to identify the stuck points and then start some conversations about how to address those issues.  

The CVA measures ten areas of congregational vitality, including: (1) Vision, Mission, and Discernment, (2) Lay Engagement and Empowerment, (3) Context Awareness and Inclusion, (4) Change Readiness, (5) Dealing with Differences and Conflict, (6) Spiritual Life and Worship, (7) Formation, Education, and Training, (8) Outreach, (9) Leadership and Organization, and (10) Stewardship. It also measures internal and external congregational sustainability.  It can be taken by one leader or by a group of leaders and members.  Best of all, it’s free to use.  Just click on the link above and start to identify your rubs today.

If you have any questions or wonder what to do once you identify those rubs, reach out to us here at info@faithx.net and we’ll give you a hand.  Here’s to fewer rubs in all of our lives!