The Transition Team spent the last 4 meetings reviewing the results of the Church Health Assessment Tool (C.H.A.T.), the survey we asked the congregation to complete in March and April. While detailed results of this survey will be published in the Church Self-Study Report, here are some of the main findings from the C.H.A.T. survey.
Why Did We Use a Church Health Survey?
The IPM Church Self-Study Process relies upon listening to the entire congregation (versus just leadership or just the most vocal people). Therefore, it is necessary to obtain a solid baseline of accurate and objective information from as much of the congregation as possible. All members and attenders of Calvary aged 16 years and older were repeatedly invited and encouraged to complete the C.H.A.T. survey to provide as wide a scope of input on the church as possible.
Who Took the C.H.A.T. Survey?
The C.H.A.T. survey opened to the Calvary congregation on March 1, 2020, and closed on April 30th. It was made available both to take in an online form and in a paper form. There were a total of 158 survey respondents, which represents 40% of those in the congregation eligible to take the survey (age 16 and above). The administrators of C.H.A.T. state that 25% to 30% of a congregation provides a good survey sample, so at 40% we believe we have an excellent survey sample. A picture of who took the survey can be seen in the following survey demographics:
What Does the C.H.A.T. Survey Measure?
The 72 questions in the C.H.A.T. survey unpack 10 “traits of a healthy church” that are based upon extensive research of over 2000 churches. These traits reflect the blending together of the Great Commandment (love God), the 2nd Great Commandment (love others), and the Great Commission (evangelism & discipleship) as depicted in the following graphic:
The C.H.A.T. Traits of a Healthy Church
The first three traits evaluate “How We Relate To God.” The second three traits evaluate “How We Relate To One Another.” The last four traits evaluate “How We Conduct Our Ministry.” Here are all ten of the traits:
- God’s Empowering Presence (GEP) – Healthy churches actively seek the Holy Spirit’s direction and empowerment for its shared life and ministry.
- God-Exalting Worship (GEW) – Healthy churches gather regularly as the local expression of the Body of Christ to worship God in ways that engage the heart, mind, soul, and strength of the people.
- Spiritual Disciplines (SD) – Healthy churches provide training, models, and resources for members of all ages to develop their spiritual disciplines.
- Learning & Growing in Community (LGC) – Healthy churches encourage believers to grow in their walk with God and with one another in the context of a safe, affirming environment.
- A Commitment to Loving & Caring Relationships (LCR) – Healthy churches are intentional in their efforts to build loving, caring relationships within families, between members, and within the community they serve.
- Servant-Leadership Development (SLD) – Healthy churches identify and develop individuals whom God has called and given the gift of leadership and challenges them to be servant leaders.
- Outward Focus (OF) – Healthy churches place high priority on communicating the truth of Jesus and demonstrating the love of Jesus to those outside the faith.
- Wise Administration & Accountability (WAA) – Healthy churches utilize appropriate facilities, equipment, and systems to provide maximum support for the growth and development of its ministries.
- Networking with the Body of Christ (NBC) – Healthy churches reach out to others in the Body of Christ for collaboration, resource sharing, learning opportunities, and united celebrations of worship.
- Stewardship & Generosity (SG) – Healthy churches teach their members that they are stewards of their God-given resources and challenge them to be sacrificially generous in sharing with others.
What Did the Survey Reveal Are Calvary’s Strengths?
God-Exalting Worship (GEW) was perceived as the greatest strength of the church by both the congregation and the leadership team. The highest mean scores under this trait were in the areas of biblical and relevant preaching and the reading of Scripture.
Wise Administration & Accountability (WAA) and Stewardship & Generosity were perceived among the top three greatest strengths of the church by both the congregation and the leadership team. The highest mean scores under these traits were for financial integrity & accountability and operating the church within the church’s annual budget.
A Commitment to Loving & Caring Relationships (LCR) was also perceived as a strength of the church, but more so by the leadership team than by the congregation.
What Did the Survey Reveal Are Calvary’s Weaknesses?
Spiritual Disciplines (SD) was perceived as the greatest area in need of improvement by both the congregation and the leadership team. Two areas in particular received the lowest mean scores: (1) How the church encourages and equips its members to practice personal confession. (2) How the church encourages and equips its members to practice spiritual reflection. The congregation perceived following two additional areas as most in need of improvement: Servant-Leadership Development (SLD) and Networking with the Body of Christ (NBC). The leadership team perceived that God’s Empowering Presence (GEP) was an additional area most in need of improvement.
What Were Other Significant Survey Findings?
NO NEW CHRISTIANS
One of the most startling findings of the survey is that, of the people who took the survey there was no one who had been a Christian less than two years. Furthermore, only 1% of the survey respondents have been a Christian less than 5 years, and only 3% less than 10 years. In other words, of the 40% of the Calvary congregation, 96% of the survey respondents had been a Christian for over ten years.
Do these results indicate that newer Christians at Calvary didn’t take the survey? Or is it reflective of a lack of evangelistic fruit? This is an important question that must be addressed if Calvary is serious about the Great Commission.
Another significant finding that seems to speak directly to this question is the score for how well the church trains and equips members to effectively present the gospel to those outside the Christian faith. The low mean score here reflects the need for more training and equipping in evangelism.
Another significant finding is that the lowest mean score on the survey was for how the church supports the needs of single adults. The Transition Team concluded from this finding that single adults do not feel supported at Calvary, which is an issue that must be addressed if the congregation desires to minister to all generational groups in the community.
NEW ATTENDER & MINI-CONGREGATIONS
Another significant finding is that survey respondents who have attended Calvary for less than one year reported that they are not part of a mini-congregation. This raises the concern that, if mini-congregations are seen as a significant part of the assimilation pathway into the life of the church, why are new attenders not participating in them? This needs to be addressed if Calvary desires to effectively welcome and assimilate new attenders.
Another significant finding is the low mean score for how the church evaluates its ministry effectiveness and adjusts for the future. This finding likely reflects Calvary’s current lack of a clear mission and vision, which is addressed later in this report.
482 Additional Comments!
As you may recall from taking the survey, every section of the survey gave respondents the opportunity to provide unlimited additional comments. This yielded a total of 482 additional comments, which amounted to dozens of pages of comments in the final survey report. The Transition Team spent countless hours reading every one of these comments, and we devoted three of our meetings to discussing these comments. Particularly important to us are the patterns and recurrence of ideas and themes in these comments. We are currently in the process of sorting all of these comments into the following categories:
These survey findings, along with the additional detail of the survey, will be compiled along with all the other exercises of the Church Self-Study that the Transition Team is working through this summer. The culmination of that Self-Study will be the Assessment Report with its recommendations for the future that will be presented to Calvary’s leadership at the end of the summer.