By Linda Buskirk for ECF Vital Practices
Occasionally, we like to publish posts from guest bloggers, especially when they say nice things about us. This week’s post is an article written by Linda Buskirk of Buskirk Solutions for Episcopal Church Foundation’s “Vital Practices for Congregations” blog. The free, online Congregational Vitality Assessment to which Linda refers was created by FaithX and brought online in a collaborative partnership by FaithX and ECF.
2020 has been a year of difficult “reality checks.” Yes, it’s dangerous out there. Yes, you should wear a mask. Yes, you need to figure out Zoom.
Now a new opportunity for a vitality check is available, designed to help focus congregational leadership and planning.
The Congregational Vitality Assessment (CVA), is now offered at no cost thanks to a partnership between the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) and The FaithX Project. The CVA provides congregations with an assessment of Vitality (healthiness) and Sustainability (level of people, financial, and contextual resources necessary to survive, or even thrive). The vitality section of the CVA measures ten areas of congregational functioning, such as Vision and Mission, Leadership, Lay Empowerment, Worship, Formation, and Stewardship.
When an individual or team has completed the CVA on behalf of their congregation, the answers are scored, and the individual or team leader then receives summary scores of each of the ten vitality areas along with a sustainability score, as well as suggestions of ways to improve in each of the areas.
Curious about the impact of such results, I spoke with representatives of a congregation that has utilized the assessment: Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Maryland. Jack Welch heads Cedar Lane’s Growth Task Force. He explains the congregation took the assessment believing it has much to offer its neighbors and wanting to expand its social justice impact. They had been thinking about how to do that since a visioning process in 2015.
“We’ve been working at it, but now we can embody it more. The CVA helps guide us and ground us as we determine how to share what we have with the community around us,” Jack explains.
According to the FaithX website: “FaithX and ECF view congregational vitality to be the paramount issue for faith communities today. Unfortunately, those congregations who need the most help addressing their vitality issues are the ones who can least afford it. Free access to the CVA is one way we are trying to address that need.”
For more information on this ECF-FaithX opportunity, visit here.