why should i take the Congregational Vitality Survey?
I’m glad you are considering taking the Congregational
The congregational vitality survey is a way to tell how
vital your congregation is in three areas: your
congregation’s connections to God, each other and the
world. Each area will receive a score on a scale from 1
5. Use this information in addition to information about
your context, finances and attendance to get a well
rounded sense of your overall vitality.
What is the survey like?
The survey is available online or as a 1 page front/back
paper form. The questions invite individuals to answer a
number of questions about the congregation or the
individual completing the survey. Most of the items ask
for ratings along a scale from 15. The online version of
the survey asks respondents to share the strengths and
challenges they see as well as any bright spots that
other congregations may want to emulate. It usually
takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete the survey.
What happens after the survey?
Once you finish the survey the information will be sent to
Dann in the Research and Evaluation department. Dann
and Linda then analyze the data and write a 12 page
PDF and/or Word report. The report includes
descriptions of how people responded to each item as
well as interpretation of what it all means and how you
might use it.
How this information will be shared?
Within a few weeks of completing the survey, a written
report with the results and an analysis of what it means
will be shared with you and your synod’s office of the
The information you provide will also be included in a
large database with the results from other congregations
and used for further statistical analysis. Any reports on
this analysis will remove all information that may identify
What is the experience of other congregations?
Since the summer of 2013 over 50 congregations from
five synods have taken this survey. This survey provides
leaders a way to understand how people are really
feeling. The report has often acted as a catalyst for
constructive conversation around issues that may be
sensitive. For some this is a tool to develop a ministry
plan, for others it is a pulse check and for others it is a
way of deciding whether they should continue their
ministry or end it with dignity.
After receiving the report congregations have used the
information in a number of ways including:
Where did it come from?
What does it cost?
This survey was created out of the Living into the Future
Together (LIFT) initiative and is part of an ongoing
research project being conducted by the ELCA’s
Congregational and Synodical Mission unit in
collaboration with the Research and Evaluation
department. The research seeks to understand the
critical factors affecting congregational vitality.
Information about the development of the survey and its
reliability and validity are available upon request. At this
time there is no charge for the survey.