Evidence based discernment is growing as a valuable tool for congregations today. Mustard Seed Consulting LLC used the Church Assessment Tool from Holy Cow! Consulting as the most tested, widely used instrument to get keen data-based insight into the health of churches and spiritual vitality of people.
Other efforts are underway, too. Consider that in 2018, Luther Seminary, St Paul, MN as part of a Lilly Endowment-funded Leadership for Faithful Innovation project, enlisted a team of Luther Seminary faculty and staff designed an assessment tool called the Spiritual Life Inventory to help churches and their leaders get a better sense of the spiritual life and church engagement in their congregations.The Spiritual Life Inventory provides a dynamic snapshot of the spiritual health of the congregations surveyed.
Nearly 50 Lutheran congregations in six ELCA synods around the United States have taken the Spiritual Life Inventory. Nearly 4,000 responses have been recorded. While this is a self-selected sample of participants in our learning communities, and we don’t claim the results to be statistically representative of the ELCA as a whole, there are still important insights to be gleaned from the data.
Here are eight key takeaways.
1. Twenty-two percent of respondents are spiritually stalled but want to grow. Even among those for whom church is working best–members who are active and involved–nearly a quarter of them reported feeling stalled in their spiritual growth. More importantly, they wished they weren’t.