The CAT process consistently facilitates identification of underlying dynamics of the congregation and provides the catalyst that enables discussion of these dynamics. I have had the privilege of witnessing congregational members and leadership teams talk after the interpretation of their Vital Signs reportabout named areas of probable difficulty they were unable or unwilling to discuss previously. In this regard, alone, the CAT is an invaluable tool for helping a congregation in its discernment process and movement forward.
Holy Cow! has been a life-saver for the work of vitality we are engaged in here in the Diocese of Atlanta. The Church Assessment Tool is a very accurate and precise way of gauging the energy and satisfaction levels of our congregations. It is a reflection of what they say about themselves. The CATWalk training was excellent for us, because it provided us locally trained CAT Interpreters to expedite our work.
Using the CAT in our Synod has improved the process by which we match pastoral candidates with congregation in transition. It has enabled our pastors to begin their new call and engage in ministry from a position of strength. They know where to begin and where to best focus their attention so they can engage in ministry and mission with confidence.
The Greatest Benefit: Ability to confirm and quantify internally held perspectives on the congregation. The experience: Good value and worth the effort.
Has given clarity to church board and sparked good conversation about areas for growth. The experience was amazing! So helpful and the staff was so responsive.
Over 40 of our congregations have benefited from the Congregational Assessment Tool. Not only has the CAT been a vital tool for our congregations, but it has shaped the work of our Congregational Development Committee as they seek to provide support for our congregations. The validity of this tool could stand alone – but it partnered with the excellent support on the part of Holy Cow! staff makes it unparalleled.
The CAT is more than an assessment tool! It offers congregations realistic hope for the future by clarifying vision, exposing blind spots, and revealing cultural patterns that keep congregations from thriving. I wouldn’t want to work with a congregation without first doing a CAT!
“When I consult with congregations in pastoral transition, I often get a general question about developing some kind of survey for the parish. (The people who ask the question have a bit of trepidation, as if they fear being recruited to do the job.) I respond with specific details about the Church Assessment Tool and what deep forms of insight it’s going to give. Not every congregation loves the act of hearing an interpretation, but any who take it seriously will find a vast field of organizational intelligence they can use to help select the priest they know will bring what they know they actually need rather than what they believe they should want based only on impressions, aspirations, or conventional wisdom. They learn that it really is possible to make better decisions in less time, and with less anxiety.”
This planning process [using the CAT] was judged by our committee to be the best of several proposed tools for study. It was well received by the congregation because of ease in answering the questions and the guaranteed anonymity. The graphic comparison of our church with others was most revealing.
This is an instrument [CAT] that lets the whole community speak and provides an external vehicle to structure the conversation so that a more accurate story can be told.