We have received your responses to the assessment for your congregation. Thank you!   Below are some questions you may have after taking the Congregation Assessment Tool™ (CAT).  

Why was it necessary to survey the congregation?

It is always important for leaders to know the perspectives, experiences, and aspirations of the people they lead.  This is especially true when major decisions will be made regarding the future of the church.

Don’t leaders know what members are thinking through their regular interactions with them?

Research shows that leaders do not have a broad enough level of interaction with members to accurately gauge the perspectives of the entire church.  Their natural tendency to relate to a relatively small percentage of the congregation results in a view of the entire congregation that is skewed.

Why was the survey so long?

When major decisions are being made, it is important to have a comprehensive picture of how the church is doing in the many different aspects of its life.  We can shorten the survey by making assumptions about different areas of the church’s ministry, but this requires that leaders guess about the views on the congregation.  Those guesses are not always accurate.

Some of the questions are negatively worded and seem to imply something is wrong.  Why can’t the questions all be positive?

When people respond to surveys, they need a variety of questions that will keep their minds engaged.  One of the ways to keep a person’s mind engaged is to ask both positively and negatively worded questions.  This does not imply that there is something wrong with the church.

Some of the questions seem to fit our church better than others?  Why is that?

The Church Assessment Tool© is a standard instrument that has been used with hundreds of churches.  By using a standard instrument, some questions will apply in certain churches better than others.  But the benefit is that you can use the results to help you understand your church in comparison to other churches like you.  Customized questions designed by your leaders specifically for your church have been added to the survey.

When I was taking the survey, it was hard to imagine how the information I was providing would be useful in our planning or search process.  Was it?

The information found in the survey report generated from the responses is useful on a number of levels.   If you are engaged in planning, it can help leaders get a comprehensive picture of where the church is now.  If you are preparing for a search,  it will guide your leaders in determining the characteristics of your next Pastor, help them develop your church profile, enable them to manage your transition, and also provide a good foundation for the start-up of your next Pastor.  A survey is a lot like a camera.  It takes a picture of who you are as a church.  Like a camera, it is very difficult to guess what a photograph looks like from simply looking at the camera.  In the same way, it is difficult to realize the value of the snapshot taken of your church simply by looking at the questions in the survey.

Will each member of the congregation be given a copy of the survey results?

The report generated by the assessment is called Vital Signs©.  This report is over 20 pages long and, like reading a medical lab report, requires a professional interpretation.  For this reason, a one or two-page summary of the results is generally provided to members of the congregation.  However, the full Vital Signs© report should be available in the church office or library for those who would like to review it.