Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Congregational engagement

I like to think today's posting is an important one, because a power outage stopped me in my tracks even as I was writing!

What I wanted to share was Gallup's list of 12 items that measure congregational engagement. Someone had reminded me of the list about employee engagement in First, Break All the Rules, a management book I love. Gallup also did a companion study of American congregations, and came up with the below as a way to measure if a person in a congregation is engaged. The number of times a person can answer "yes" measures how engaged they are.

  1. As a member of my congregation, I know what is expected of me.
  2. In my congregation, my spiritual needs are met.
  3. In my congregation, I regularly have the opportunity to do what I do best.
  4. In the last month, I have received recognition or praise from someone in my congregation.
  5. The spiritual leaders in my congregation seem to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone in my congregation who encourages my spiritual development.
  7. As a member of my congregation, my opinions seems to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my congregation makes me feel my participation is important.
  9. The other members of my congregation are committed to spiritual growth.
  10. Aside from family members, I have a best friend in my congregation.
  11. In the last six months, someone in my congregation has talked to me about the progress of my spiritual growth.
  12. In my congregation, I have opportunities to learn and grow.

I don't know any church of any denomination that is not struggling with keeping its members engaged and active. And I'm wondering if the above gives some clues as to how to keep people engaged. I know that if I could say "yes" to all twelve of the above questions, I probably would never want to leave or become inactive. The fact that I have to answer "no" to some of them gives me pause, and makes be believe I'm probably not alone in those feelings.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the place of church in my life. One recent example is when I went to that memorial service, which made me set a goal to get to know my fellow church members better. Recently too I've been thinking about mission and purpose. Is the mission of the church something I'm enthusiastic about? Are the other members also inspired by it? Are we fulfilling that mission?

No answers here to any of these questions. But the twelve points above still resonate with me as things a church can cultivate. I love the emphasis on spiritual growth and development. To me, that's the point of a church community—to encourage spiritual growth. 2006 will be my year to explore this more deeply.

Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 12/13/2005 06:30:00 PM, Anonymous Franklin said...

although I understand the point of this post.

It seems to me that this is placing the burden of pleasing the member on the congreation.

interaction with other humans is a two way street.

A person will get in return what they give.

However, I must add that I don't believe a physical church was ever meant to be. Fellowship, support and service to each other is in my opinion the reason for getting together as a group.


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