Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Spirituality Assessment

Susie, like her older brother and sister, enrolled at a Christian university in her home state. While at the university, she became increasingly involved in issues of social justice, helping out regularly at a soup kitchen and organizing a food drive. She attended chapel weekly, as required, but reported that she frequently daydreamed or took it as ‘down time’ from her busy schedule. Has Susie grown spiritually in college? To what degree? (Please round to the nearest whole number).

Is it possible to assess spiritual growth? Can we quantify spirituality? Apparently many religious colleges in the States are attempting to do so according to insidehighered.com's article Spiritual Accountability.

Dr. Todd Hall,associate professor of psychology at Biola University developed an instrument called Spiritual Transformation Inventory (STI).

The STI consists of five domains based on previous theory and research. The five major domains include 21 subscales validated through exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, and convergent validity with relevant measures.

The domains are:
(1)Spiritual Meaning and Vitality
(2)Spiritual Commitment & Community
(3)Secure Spiritual Attachment
(4)Preoccupied Spiritual Attachment
(5)Dismissing Spiritual Attachment

An example of a Spiritual transformation Inventory on an individual is here.

About 25 institutions affiliated with the Council for Christian College & Universities participated in the Spiritual Transformation Inventory in the 2005-6 school year, with 15 to 20 participating this past semester, Hall says.

Most of these studies are done in the States for religious educational institutions. They are needed to justify that religious educational institutions offers a special distinctive compared to non-religious educational institution.

I wonder whether such a test can be done for our churches. Are members of our congregations growing spiritually? Are the activities of the congregation contributing to their spiritual growth? Are the teachings given adequate for spiritual growth? And do we really want to know?

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