If you are in church leadership, it can often be difficult to ascertain how those in your congregation are feeling. For example, where do they stand with regard to your church’s vision, mission, and goals? (And do they even know what they are?) Do people in your congregation feel a sense of acceptance and belonging? Would they be willing to serve more, if given the opportunity and encouragement to do so?
Could you meet individually with everyone in your church and ask them these things directly? Sure. But that isn’t always a viable option—especially in larger churches with hundreds, or even thousands of members or attendees. A better option is to conduct a church survey that will answer these and other questions.
VitalChurch Ministry, a Christian nonprofit organization that has been working in the field of church diagnostics for more than 25 years, recently put together a church survey, which they call their Church Vitality Survey (CVS), and they are offering it to any church that wants to get a better understanding of their congregation. The survey asks questions related to basic demographics, as well as more pointed questions about foundational theological beliefs and thoughts about church leadership. The survey is conducted online, and all responses are sent automatically to VitalChurch for processing. Responses are kept strictly anonymous.
The questions found in the survey are insightful and provide churches with the honest feedback they are seeking. It is designed to show church leaders areas that could use improvement, such as discipleship, community building, or evangelism training, so they can then engage in strategic planning from an informed position. The results are delivered in a customized report that includes helpful charts and graphs. The report also includes a “vitality score,” which measures a church’s level of spiritual vitality.
Once the report is received, church leaders can schedule a follow-up call with diagnostic experts from VitalChurch Ministry. During the call, church leaders will have the opportunity to ask questions and receive guidance as to how the church should proceed, based on the information that was brought to light in their church survey. Many of the diagnostic experts at VitalChurch are also pastors, who have real-world experience working with congregations through various issues. They not only can provide advice, but also actionable recommendations for moving forward.
VitalChurch Ministry recommends that every church check in with their congregation at least once a year, either through a church survey or through other means, such as in-person meetings. For churches that are experiencing any sort of transition or crisis, a more in-depth diagnostic assessment is often necessary. VitalChurch Ministry offers three levels of church assessments, including their CVS. Churches should choose which level of assessment is right for them, based on their current needs.