Tag Archives: Flourishing Congregations Institute

A quick church quiz for you

In the Jan/Feb Faith Today, we have a great article called “Would our  neighbourhoods notice if we left? The Flourishing Congregations Institute probes what is working in Canadian Congregations.”

The article, by Ambrose professor of sociology, and Flourishing Congregations Institute director Joel Thiessen, starts out with that infamous question: “If your church burned down tomorrow, would the neighbourhood notice?” Thiessen then goes on to unpack some of the Institute’s recent findings in their research into churches whose neighbourhoods would most definitely feel the impact if they were no longer present.  You can (and should!) read the whole article here.

But for right now, why not try to answer these questions that Thiessen ends his article with. They are to get you thinking and moving in the right direction, both congregational and personally:

  1. Would your neighbourhood notice if your church were no longer there, or if you relocated from the neighbourhood where you personally reside?
  2. How would you know?
  3. What are the markers?
  4. Are you satisfied in this area of your congregational or personal life?
  5. How might you strengthen your church’s presence in your neighbourhood or your personal involvement?

Would you like to hold this article in your hands and really think about things? You can request a free trial subscription, and ask to begin with the current Jan/Feb issue. Why not give Faith Today a try?


What counts as a flourishing congregation in Canada?

by Joel Thiessen

What counts as a flourishing congregation in Canada? What are the indicators of a flourishing congregation?

FlouishingCI LogoWhat would you say? Membership, baptism, conversion, or attendance figures? How “well” churchgoers love others? Good leadership? Strong community presence?

These are common and anticipated questions that our research team receives as we launch the new Flourishing Congregations Institute at Ambrose University.  In reality, flourishing is a combination of all of the above, plus a series of other variables.

Our team recently facilitated two expert panel gatherings with nearly 20 church and denominational leaders of flourishing Catholic, mainline and conservative Protestant congregations in Calgary. Soon we will travel coast to coast, speaking with 50-75 additional leaders of flourishing congregations – and later in the study we will conduct in-depth case studies of some congregations, followed by a national survey with leaders and members of flourishing congregations.

In our initial explorations we ask leaders this open-ended question: “What comes to mind with the phrase “flourishing congregation”?” We also summarize and then solicit their response to five traits that emerge in the literature on healthy and vibrant churches: a clear self-identity; strong and committed leadership; a culture that desires growth (numeric as well as spiritual); a hospitable community;band vibrant spiritual life (see our earlier article in Faith Today)
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