All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago

Congregational Assessment Tool Results

Executive Narrative Summary

All Saints Episcopal Church

March 13, 2016

1. General Overview

Overall, 180 people took at least some portion of the CAT, which is about 80% of our average Sunday attendance. This is on par with other congregations from similar churches. This response rate is high enough for our results to be considered reliable, valid, and a good representation of the entire congregation. Our results were compared with the results from the 300 most recent CAT surveys taken by other mainline Protestant congregations that were similar to All Saints in terms of size and population, to give us an understanding of how we compare to churches with similar congregations.

Of the respondents, approximately 96% were considered frequent attendees, attending services once a month or more; a majority (67%) were between the ages of 35 and 64, with the remainder split fairly evenly between younger and older parishioners (16% and 17%, respectively). Overall, 83% of respondents are satisfied with how things are in our church. We also have the highest score in the database for overall energy.

The CAT divides its report into several sections. The descriptive indices look at the overall culture of our church while the performance indices examine particular areas of ministry. The CAT also identifies areas of congregational concern and helps clarify both what satisfies and drives our members and areas where improvement is needed.

2. What did we learn?

a. Descriptive indices

Much of what we learned from the CAT was confirmation of what we already knew. All Saints is a very progressive, adaptable church. This means that we are able to adapt our style of worship to best meet the needs of our members and is an indicator of congregational health. At our best, we are very welcoming and can seem to be a “safe haven” for those who have had difficulty finding a church home or who have had bad experiences with other churches at some point in their lives. Without vigilance, however, we run the risk of becoming overly intellectual and spiritually shallow.

b. Performance indices

The CAT measures the following 8 areas: Hospitality, Morale, Conflict Management, Governance, Spiritual Vitality, Readiness for Ministry, Educational Engagement, and Worship and Music. Each score is derived from our answers to specific questions within the CAT, compared to the responses of our peer churches (percentile ranking).

3. Strengths

a. Morale (100th percentile)
Our congregation is engaged and excited about church. The spirit of our church entices people to become as involved as possible and we are overwhelmingly satisfied with our church.

b. Readiness for Ministry (97th percentile)
All Saints does a great job helping members discern and apply their ministerial call as well as supporting members in their ministry.

c. Governance (97th percentile)
Overall, the congregation is happy with the leadership of the church (the clergy and vestry).

d. Conflict Management (97th percentile)
Members have a healthy tolerance for differing views and beliefs. When conflict does arise, it is settled through mutual effort.

e. Educational Engagement (91st percentile)
All Saints does well at offering opportunities for lifelong formation and education. Our members are committed to life-long spiritual formation and education.

f. Hospitality (74th percentile)
Overall, members feel welcomed and cared for by their fellow parishioners. We perceive ourselves as being friendly. However, our score on one question indicates that not everyone feels prepared to welcome new members or guests personally.

g. Worship and Music (69th percentile)
Members feel worship services are excellent but results were mixed over the music program. This may be a result of ongoing transition within our music program.

4. Opportunities for Improvement

a. Spiritual Vitality (2nd percentile)

    • This index measures the degree to which members believe that their faith is central to their lives rather than peripheral or episodic. We score very low on this index.
    • It is unclear what this measure means for our congregation. It is an area that demands more conversation and review.
    • This is the only measure that directly correlates with financial generosity. Our members have been generous in their giving, however, we are just below the national average of percent of household income given. (The national average is 2.5%. We are at approximately at 2.1%.) We have much untapped potential.

5. What energizes and drives the overall satisfaction of our members.

Based on your responses, many different factors drive and energize our congregation-this is a good and healthy thing. The most common drivers of satisfaction are:

a. Persons who serve as leaders in our church are representative of the membership.

b. Our rector is present in times of crisis

c. Our rector helps us accomplish our mission by bringing out the best in everyone

d. Our church does a good job supporting persons in ministry by reminding them that they are making a difference.

Member satisfaction and member energy reveal the most about a congregation’s health, morale and vitality. The CAT groups congregations into one of four groups based on their energy and member satisfaction. Based on your responses, All Saints falls into the “Transformational” group. In fact, we are almost off the charts in terms of both member energy and member satisfaction. Congregations in this group have the capacity to transform people’s lives-in the pews and in the community. The challenge is to avoid complacency. In order to continue to move forward, we as a congregation must figure out how to build on and share our successes and best practices with other congregations.

6. Congregational Priorities

Three top priorities were identified:

1. Create more opportunities for people to form meaningful relationships (for example, small groups, nurtured friendships, shared meals, etc.)

2. Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church.

3. Work as an advocate for social and institutional change so that society might better reflect the values of the kingdom of God.

    • Most congregations rank this very low on their list of priorities
    • Most congregations rank this very low on their list of priorities

Priorities #1 and #3 were ranked highly by respondents of all age groups. One additional priority was shared by all age groups:

4. Work to renew and revitalize the community around the church by building coalitions with partners that share this vision and commitment.

A notable indicator of a healthy and thriving congregation is its degree of external focus. The priorities we have identified largely demonstrate our desire to continue to grow our church and to expand our mission and ministries within our community. It also demonstrates our commitment to effect institutional and societal change. However, the top priority identified is that we work on growing closer to each other and focus on forming more meaningful relationships with one another. We as a community must determine how we reconcile these desires to look both inward and expand outward.

In summary, we are an exceptional congregation. Our connection to one another and our ministries to the world are vital and life changing. Through the CAT, we affirmed our satisfaction with the work that we have done and the community we have built thus far. We have much to celebrate and be thankful for; our task now is to explore where we want to go next. How do we increase our connectedness to God and to each other while still joyfully sharing the Gospel with the world? What is it that God is calling us to in this next chapter of our life in ministry together? What is the vision for how we will live our mission in the coming years?

Thank you for your thoughts and responses to the CAT. The clergy and vestry are excited to lead the discussion about our next steps. Together, we will continue to make All Saints a leader and change-agent in our community and the world.

 

These are links to download pdf files of the various results categories: Clergy Profile, Vital Signs, Supplemental Questions 1, Supplemental Questions 2