By: Rev. Judith VanOsdol, Director for Evangelical Mission
Vital congregations bear witness to God’s transforming power. Our synod is one of five pilot synods across the ECLA that form the Congregational Vitality Project. The Congregational Vitality Assessment is a listening tool that invites participants to share their perceptions of how the congregation is connecting with God, with one another, and with the world.
Our synod’s four Regional Renewal Teams have worked arduously throughout 2014 leading the process in our synod. To date, over 85 congregations, roughly half of the congregations of our Synod have used the CVA. This process includes: an all congregation survey, receiving feedback from team members with congregational leaders, and follow up from that process. (For information on the CVA, see the FAQ)
Information is not transformation-follow up is necessary! Recently the project interviewed congregational leaders from 44 congregations in pilot synods to see how congregations used the survey. The study found that leaders of congregations in every synod agree that the survey is helpful but its impact is greatly increased with follow-up interventions. Those congregations who used the information to facilitate follow-up steps to begin a process of renewal were more likely to experience improvement in their overall health.
The CVA project will go on Hiatus from mid-December to February of 2015. Therefore, if you have ordered the survey, but not taken it, or are waiting to send in results, congregations have until December 15th at the latest to send in survey results of the current version. Following the hiatus, we will launch version three of the CVA, ready to order from your Regional Renewal team in February, 2015.
In Part II, we will illustrate some of the critical factors that impact congregational vitality. Blessings of joy and peace!