The following was included in the report on the National LCMS Church Worker Family Needs Assessment Pilot Report.
According to The National Council on Family Relations (NFR) the key to effective family life education and support is family life assessment.
SINCE 2005 FAMILY FRIENDLY PARTNERS NETWORK HAS WORKED WITH SOME 96 CONGREGATIONS IN THE LCMS PROVIDING TRAINING IN FAMILY LIFE EDUCATION.
A key component to the FFPN process has been objective, anonymous and comprehensive assessment first by way of the Family Needs Survey (FNS) through 2014, and currently by way of the Congregational Needs Assessment (CNA) since early 2015. The CNA is digitally delivered, brings with it module options, and through added emphasis on single life and life in the later years, serves as a more comprehensive tool to ministry planning to people of all ages, all marital/relational statuses, as well as the presence or absence of children in their current households.
The Family Needs Survey was rooted in a subjective beginning in 1996 and emerged as an objective, anonymous and comprehensive tool in 1999 through the guidance of Dr. Scott Stanley (The Commitment & Dedication Scales), Dr. Ken Canfield (The Personal Father Profile) and Dr. Walter Schumm (The Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scales). FNSIII was revised and released as with a digital option in 2010. Serving more than 1,200 churches through more than 165,00 respondents—the validity and reliability as a family ministry planning tool for FFPN parishes over the past decade of use.
The Family Friendly Partner Network launched the original pilot effort in 2005 in Michigan. FFPN is a family life education training process used to raise the capacity of congregations to help families thrive adopted the FNS as the core assessment tool and has maintained a highly successful > 65% adult response rate through the instrument. The FNSIII aggregate of 6,613 FFPN respondents 2010-2014 is the most comprehensive look into LCMS households to date.
TAKING THESE LEARNINGS FROM THE PARISH TO THE DISTRICT SEEMED A NATURAL PROGRESSION TO COME ALONGSIDE CHURCH WORKERS.
A pilot FNS plus Church Worker study was launched by the Michigan District in 2008-2009 by the Commission on Church Worker Family Health and Work Satisfaction. Several key initiatives were launched to come alongside Michigan church workers.
David Muench of Concordia Plan Services (CPS) enlisted the help of FFPN founder Ben Freudenburg and Glenn Gritzon Founder of Congregational Services (formerly with FNS) to use an in-kind CNA plus Church Worker Family hybrid digital instrument for research on Church Worker Family Health and Work Satisfaction.
The proposal for such research was presented to Concordia Planned Services (CPS) and Office of National Missions (ONM) by whom the project was accepted and funding was granted in 2014.
Congregation Family Services was founded in 2015 and collaborated with the three District teams to craft an assessment tool, the Church Worker Family Needs Assessment (CW-FNA) for use in this study. Forty-eight original church worker family questions were added to study to examine previously confounding variables by asking the church worker and the church worker spouse/fiancé/ significant other the same constructs from their unique perspectives. The CW-FNA retained core FNS constructs while adding essential revisions and enhancements of the CFNA.
To obtain a representative, stratified random sample, the pilot districts were selected in consultation with David Muench and CPS based on their location in the US and on demonstrated church worker care interest by the districts. Phone calls were made to the identified district presidents and a follow-up email was sent with details on the project.
Three districts agreed to participant in the pilot project and a letter of confirmation with expectations was delivered to each participating district president and a registration/contract was signed and sent back to CCF.
Formation of District Teams & “Live” One-Day Training with each Team
CCF was tasked with the training the Core Survey Team in each district. The district president formed the team in his district and a one-day face to face training date was set. The Aims for the district core survey team training are, the participants will be able to:
articulate the purpose of a needs assessment
share the CW-FNA data collection process for their district with others
to share accurate information about the Congregational Church Worker Family Needs Assessment with District ordained and commissioned church workers and their spouses
effectively take and deliver take the assessment using the process and tool outline in the training.
Each District Core Team worked with both CCF and CFS to formulate their District’s CWFNA strategy leading to their assessment launch. Assessment process coaching was provided by CFS through the gathering of representative random stratified samples: Kansas N=301, Ohio N=264, and PSD N=436, which then formed a study aggregate of N=1,001.
Coaching was provided by CFS with each District’s per their strategy by way of weekly email updates on respondent’s key demographics, to date. This process included phone calls with each liaison to get the most of the strategy and to generate a few audible adjustments as the responses from key demographics were lagging below projections.
Processing of the data and communication of the key discoveries was done by Glenn Gritzon, managing partner of CFS using the one respondent per record method to correlate constructs and measures for each individual, and then assigning respondents to categories using objective scales and rubrics.
In 2013 at the LCMS convention a resolution was passed to better care for LCMS church workers and at the 2016 LCMS convention Worker Wellness Overtures to Promote Worker Wellness within Circuits and Districts was presented and adopted.