“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
This past winter, members of Trinity sat down to complete the CAT (Congregational Assessment Tool) Survey. The survey is administered by a company called Holy Cow Consulting, and has been given to over 80,000 churches of all denominations, all over the country.
The CAT Survey has two goals:
- To help measure the health and vitality of a congregation.
- To help give direction for a congregation’s future.
Health and vitality are measured using two different measuring criteria: Membership satisfaction, and membership energy.
While the CAT asks hundreds of questions to get at these two concepts, they are based on two summary questions:
- “How satisfied are you with how things are going in your church right now?” And,
- “What do you perceive is the level of energy and excitement in your church?”
The CAT takes a congregation’s data and puts it on a graph, with satisfaction on the horizontal line, and energy on the vertical line. The results of the data then place a congregation into one of four different quadrants.
If a congregation has low satisfaction but high energy, it falls into a quadrant that the CAT survey calls “chaotic.” These congregations are ones that have people who are unhappy with how things are going, and have a lot of energy…so they’re talking about their unhappiness. I’ve seen congregations like this. The word I would use to describe them is “grumpy.”
The CAT survey calls congregations with low satisfaction and low energy, “recovery” congregations. These are congregations where people are unhappy, and there isn’t much energy. I think another name for these kind of churches would be “sleepy.”
Congregations with high satisfaction and low energy are called “static.” These churches are really satisfied with how things are, and don’t feel the need to grow or change. They’re the ones who could be defined by the phrase “we’ve always done it this way before.”
The last quadrant is for churches with high satisfaction and high energy. They are called “transformational.” Transformational congregations are healthy, and have an outward-looking perspective. This is the quadrant where a congregation wants to be.
In 2013, when Trinity took the CAT, the results were positive. The assessment put us in the “transformational” quadrant, which is great. Trinity was a congregation of high energy and high satisfaction. The word of caution back then was that when a congregation is as close to the center as we were, it means that we had the potential to move into any of the four quadrants.
So now we’ve taken the test again, and this is one of the major metrics that we are paying attention to. The news is good! In 2017, Trinity has moved farther and more securely into the transformational quadrant. Our level of energy and satisfaction have both grown in the last four years. This provides great affirmation for the strategic plan that we’ve been working on since the fall of 2014.
There’s lots of other data that the CAT survey drills down into that teaches us much more about how the congregation perceives our community.
On June 20th, at 7pm, we are hosting an open meeting to hear the full results of the CAT survey, and to talk about the implications of the CAT. You are invited to come and hear more about the results and to talk together about how this impacts our strategic plan and where we believe God is calling us to grow together.
Please feel free to join us!
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