Free Church Health Assessment Tool

September 28, 2023

When church leaders are in the thick of ministry and busy with day-to-day tasks, it can feel like there’s not enough time in the day to ask honest questions. Do you know where your church team is winning? Are there any blindspots that are limiting your impact?

A church health assessment tool is one way to do the challenging—but necessary—work of self-evaluation. Stepping back to refocus on the big picture is key to maintaining a healthy church culture.

Before diving into the online assessment, let’s address four trends that can negatively impact church health. Then, we’ll identify areas of opportunity and the steps your leadership team can take to improve the spiritual vitality of your church.

Current trends threatening church health

The spiritual landscape of America continues to change, and church leaders need to know what they’re facing. Here are four trends currently affecting churches in the U.S.

  • Declining attendance: For the last 20 years, people have been slowly leaving the church. Gallup has identified two main reasons for this gradual drop in attendance: More people are stating “None” when asked about their religious affiliation, and those who do have faith are opting out of formal membership.
  • Generational shifts: Linked to the trend above is a collective shift away from the belief systems people were raised in. This change is continuing to snowball as younger generations shed their religious affiliations. With each generation, fewer adults keep the Christian identity of their youth.
  • Financial challenges: After two years of record giving during the pandemic, 2022 was one of the worst years on record for charitable giving, and churches have felt the effects. This dip in donations has been blamed on recent economic shake-ups, such as inflation and stock market volatility.
  • Cultural relevance: Churches are faced with the difficult choice of changing their approach for new generations or keeping with tradition. They don’t want to lose their loyal, older members, but the vitality of their congregation is in danger if young generations stop attending.

So what can churches do to overcome these challenges? First, you need a benchmark measurement for optimal health. You should know what a healthy church looks like so you can understand where your church is thriving and where improvements can be made.

Let’s start by looking at the foundational elements of a healthy church.

Seven major pillars of church health

1. Spiritual vitality

A strong, active congregation makes for a healthy church. Worship services are vibrant and engaging, small groups are flourishing, and church leaders invest in their members’ spiritual growth. The transformational power of Jesus is evident and its people are living out their Christian faith with power. 

2. Leadership development

Churches aren’t led by one person alone. They count on a leadership team to share the load of responsibility. But leadership skills aren’t cultivated by accident; they take careful consideration and intention. Healthy churches invest their time and resources into creating a leadership development culture.

3. Worship & discipleship

If the body isn’t being fed on a regular basis, it suffers. Nourishment from corporate gatherings and group meetings is vital to church health. People need to feel connected to their church and to each other. Transformational worship services and a focus on discipleship training are signs of a thriving church community.

4. Outreach & evangelism

Under the mandate of the Great Commission, churches are working tirelessly to make Jesus known at home and across the globe. A healthy church has a clear vision of how they plan to share the gospel with the world around them. Their work begins inside the church building but extends far beyond through outreach ministries and evangelism to reach the lost.

5. Finances & stewardship

The only way begin to handle church finances is with prayerful planning and a clear understanding that everything comes from the hand of God. If a church can steward their finances well, they’re more likely empowered to serve well. No matter how big or small the budget is, church leaders are called to manage money responsibly.

6. Community engagement

Healthy churches make an effort to live out the greatest commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). They’re actively serving their local community as living examples of Jesus. A city should be able to feel the presence of the church as members invest time and resources to meet real needs.

7. Organizational efficiency

All of the pillars above fall flat without organization. The health of the church will deteriorate if little care is given to how things like worship, outreach, finances, leadership, shepherding, and local service are organized and executed. Staff must work together to see their church function and grow.

If these pillars have inspired you to learn more about the health of your own church, consider performing a quick online assessment.

Church health assessment worksheet

You can click on the graphic below to download a free copy of the Church Health Assessment Tool in PDF format. For each of the pillars of church health listed above, you will find five statements. For each statement, rate your response on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “strongly agree” and 1 being “strongly disagree.”

Once you’ve rated each of the 35 statements, use the included grading section to calculate your score for each of the 7 pillars, as well as your overall score.

Use these scores to help  determine which areas of your church are thriving and where it has an opportunity for growth.

How to use your assessment answers to improve church health

No matter how high or low you scored, you’ve undoubtedly gained new insights into the state of your ministry. Now you can use this new information to attend to areas that might have room for improvement!

Analyze your score for each pillar and develop an action plan, even if it’s just starting a conversation with someone to see how they feel about your concerns. If you see an opportunity for growth, there’s a good chance other people do too. 

Improving the health of your church is a team effort, so get others involved with any new changes to help monitor the church’s progress. As you watch new processes unfold, keep the conversation going and make adjustments as needed. 

Self-awareness is key to a healthy church

It can be difficult to critique and observe how you may be falling short of your goals as a church, but self-awareness is a necessary component of any type of improvement or desire to grow. Use this free church health assessment tool to gauge the state of your church and make a plan for meaningful change.

Remember that no church will ever be perfect; excellence isn’t a destination but rather a journey of growth and improvement. There’s no church problem too big for God, and we hope that taking this self-assessment has been a step in the right direction!

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Ashley Powell, Guest author

Ashley is a writer and lover of all things handmade, living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and three children. Through research and collaboration with marketing teams, she creates informative and educational content such as reader-focused blogs, guides, and product reviews.

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