Yesterday I shared some of the learning from our day at the Best Practices Conference, particularly the speaker’s commentary about success and failure and risk-taking. Today I’d like to tell you about something else he touched on – spiritual vitality.
It seems that a few years ago a study was done which asked church members – of any and all denominations, varieties, etc. – where they thought their own church would fall on a “Spiritual Vitality” continuum. The continuum began with “no spiritual vitality” and moved through several levels to “high spiritual vitality”. I asked how “spiritual vitality” was defined, but no definition was given – it was up to the participants in the study to define that for themselves. To the shock of many, only about 28% of church members believed their own churches had a high level of spiritual vitality. The Episcopal church ranked relatively high in the study, with many ranking their own churches significantly lower. Their own churches!
I’m an Episcopal priest, and like any pastor hearing those statistics, my first wonderment was about my own congregation. How would our own people rank us on a continuum of spiritual vitality? And I wonder how they would define that term. I believe that just thinking about defining it would be a learning and growing experience. What does spiritual vitality mean to any of us? And how do we measure ourselves? I’ll be looking into those questions in the coming weeks, and will keep you posted.
Prayers for a continuing holy Lent….filled with spiritual vitality.