A message from Dana Allin, Synod Executive
How are ECO churches doing? This question has been asked more often of me in the past year than in any other time since our existence. It is an understandable question during this season. The perfect storm between COVID, racial tension, political tension, cancel culture, and the increasing view that orthodox Christian perspective is archaic and hateful. The question is even further complicated when considering what framework should really be used to evaluate how the church is doing. When asking how churches are doing, most people look at the health of the church’s finances and the percentage of people attending worship compared to pre-pandemic numbers. These are certainly one set of important measurements but are they the only measurements or even among the most important measurements?
One of the projects we have been working on in ECO is a Church Health Assessment based upon our 6 qualities of a flourishing church. These 6 qualities and their brief definitions can be found in our vision frame under the “Measures” section. These characteristics were created in our vision process before the pandemic, but one of the things that is helpful to understand is that they are not based on traditional metrics of budget and worship attendance. Instead they are fundamental aspects of church health such as the extent to which the church has identified and lived out its unique vision, the extent to which covenant partners have people helping them grow as disciples and the extent to which covenant partners are doing that for others. The key is to focus on the foundational health of the church. When the church is healthy the other metrics will naturally increase.
We are thankful for the hundred of you who took a sample assessment a few months ago. This group helped us decide which questions were valid in determining the six major areas of health and which ones needed to be removed.
We are pleased to announce that we now have a Church Health Assessment that is statistically verified as valid and reliable. We are currently finishing up last minute details and a church trial. Very soon those will be complete and we will send out an eblast with more information and details on how to use the assessment with your congregation. We are excited to be able to offer the assessment for free to churches until the end of September. You can learn more or take the assessment here.
The way the assessment works is that the church signs up and is then given a link to send to the congregation. The congregation fills out the assessment based upon their….read entire article here
The way the assessment works is that the church signs up and is then given a link to send to the congregation. The congregation fills out the assessment based upon their own discipleship and what they observe in the church. When a significant number of people have completed the survey, the church closes the survey and generates a report. The report gives raw scores for each of the 6 qualities of health and the associated 14 subordinate characteristics. The church can also see how each question was answered within the congregation. For example, they could see that 20% of the people strongly agreed with the statement that they are actively engaging in helping others grow in their discipleship but 35% strongly disagreed with that statement. The data will help congregations to know where they can spend energy as they take their flourishing next step as a congregation to enhance their overall health.
If after receiving the data you would like a coach to help you unpack your results and take the next step, you can be paired with a coach by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. In the future we also hope that we will be able to have enough congregations take the survey so that we can “norm” the data. This norm will allow churches not just to see a “raw” score but instead understand how that score compares on a percentile scale with other churches.
I am very excited about this tool. I hope it can be well used and continue to promote our understanding of the importance of church health rather than the traditional scorecard of numbers of people in the pews and how the budget is doing!
I know recent trends with COVID have reminded us that we are not out of the clear. It is therefore even more important to take this fall to help examine the underlying health of our churches as we prepare to minister post-pandemic. I am appreciative of all of you as pastors, leaders, and covenant partners in your churches as you seek to live out your calling in this uncertain world.