As an organization that’s dedicated to helping revitalize churches in the midst of transitions or crises, VitalChurch Ministry finds a lot of value in conducting church assessments. We believe that before a church can start to make real and lasting changes, they need to have an accurate understanding of the place from which they are starting.
Over the years, VitalChurch Ministry has developed effective strategies for assessing churches, and we believe it is one of the areas that truly sets our ministry apart from other organizations that engage in transitional or interim ministry.
All churches can benefit from conducting an assessment of their congregations, but here are five instances where we believe a thorough church health assessment is needed.
There Has Been Some Conflict
One of the most obvious reasons for conducting a church health assessment is if there has been some conflict among congregation members or between church leadership and the congregation. Even if you think you know the source of the conflict, a church assessment could reveal some underlying issues that you haven’t considered. In our many years of conducting church assessments, the diagnostic team at VitalChurch Ministry has found that the presenting issues are often not the real issues in a church. A thorough church assessment might be just the thing your church needs to start the reconciliation process and move beyond its areas of conflict.
You’ve Seen a Significant Amount of Turnover in Your Congregation
New people may be coming to your church, but if others are leaving at about the same rate, there is something going on that should be addressed. Maybe it’s that your church is great at community outreach and evangelism, but it is missing a discipleship piece. Or it could be that people struggle to connect with others in the congregation. An in-depth church assessment can be just the tool your church needs to help you figure out why people are coming, but not staying.
The Church Is Stagnant
If your congregation has been comprised of generally the same individuals and families for many years without seeing any new faces, it’s time to ask “why?” Is your church unwelcoming? Is it stuck in some unhealthy patterns that turn visitors off? A church assessment can reveal issues that may be holding your church back from vibrancy and growth.
Your Congregation Doesn’t Seem Engaged
Your church may be in a situation where people are showing up on Sundays but are otherwise uninvolved in the life of the church. If you have trouble getting people to step up to volunteer or serve in leadership roles; or if participation in small groups and Bible studies is low; or if financial giving is weaker than you might hope, it’s worth conducting a church assessment to discover why this is the case. There are many reasons why your congregation may not be engaged. There could be a fundamental distrust in leadership that holds people back, or it could be that your church is just not creating the opportunities for people to get involved. Another issue could be that church leadership hasn’t clearly communicated the mission and vision of the church.
A church health assessment will give your congregation the opportunity to express their reasons for limiting their involvement with the church body so leadership can address them moving forward.
It’s Been a While Since You’ve Gotten Feedback from Your Congregation
Everything at your church may be pretty great right now, but it’s always a good idea to get feedback from your congregation. A church assessment may uncover a relatively small issue that could turn into a large problem down the road if it isn’t addressed. At VitalChurch Ministry, we recommend that a church conduct an assessment of their congregation every year, or at least every other year. An assessment will reveal what things your church is doing well that can be further built upon, but it will also show you some areas in which you can improve.
Church Assessment Options at VitalChurch Ministry
VitalChurch Ministry offers three levels of church health assessments. If you want to check in with your congregation and gather some valuable, general feedback, we recommend our Church Vitality Survey. This anonymous online survey is comprised of a list of questions that our diagnostic team has curated over our more than 25 years of conducting church health assessments. Your congregation’s answers will give you insight into the makeup of your church, as well as insight into things like their sense of belonging, knowledge of the gospel message, and volunteer potential. The information gained from the survey will help your church leaders make informed decisions regarding strategic planning and ministry priorities. You can learn more about our Church Vitality Survey here.
For a more customized assessment, we recommend our Focused Church Assessment. This survey allows you to gain insight into areas of concern and/or get a better understanding of the effectiveness of specific ministries within your church.
Finally, we have a full ministry survey known as our Comprehensive Church Assessment. This assessment involves a customized online survey, as well as input sessions with church leaders and congregation members. It includes a detailed follow-up report with an in-person presentation from our diagnostic team. The Comprehensive Church Assessment is recommended for churches with serious or ongoing issues, or for any church that wants to take a deep dive into the health and vitality of its congregation.
For a more detailed look at all of our church assessment options, visit our Diagnostic Analysis page. If you have any questions about our church assessments, or if you’re ready to get started, you can contact us at any time.