The Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT) was recently administered at UUCW. 358 “active members” were invited to participate; of these, 194 responded. Based on work with more than 3000 congregations Holy Cow Consulting, the group that administers and interprets the CAT, a response from every member is not required to provide valid results.
A summary of the Vital Signs report provided by Holy Cow Consulting is below. The UUCW Board of Trustees and staff, many of whom were present for the report interpretation with Holy Cow, will be processing the full report over the next few months. By mid-July, a more detailed report will be available in the UUCW Library on the lower level.
From the EXECUTIVE SUMMARY of UUCW’s Vital Signs Report:
Overall, approximately 74% of UUCW members are clearly satisfied with things in the church. This, along with other information, indicates that the church has options which include growth, expansion, replication, and external impact.
Whether any of these will be realized depends on the choices made (by UUCW).
Not every question (on the CAT) is of equal importance to members. When asked how satisfied they are, members tend to focus on the issues addressed in the questions below. When they feel more positive in these areas, they tend to feel more positive overall.
- Our Pastor engages people with a message that enriches their lives in the world.
- The worship services at our church are at our church are exceptional in both quality and spiritual content.
- In preaching, our Pastor engages people with a message that enriches their lives in the world.
- Problems between groups in this church are usually resolved through mutual effort.
- Our Pastor communicates with people in a way that keeps us informed and connected.
Conversely, when UUCW members feel less positive about the areas above, they tend to feel less satisfied with their experience in the church overall.
Every church exhibits patterns in its life that contain strengths and potential weaknesses. UUCW has potential strengths related to inclusiveness and advocacy. Potential weaknesses include a tendency to intellectualize every issue and difficulty in establishing identity and vision.
As UUCW members look to the future, their top four goals are
- Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church.
- Develop the spiritual generosity of the people to financially support the ministry of the church.
- Enlarge or improve the physical facilities of the church to expand or enhance our ministries.
- Make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth to our church.
Goals # 2 and 3 are unusually strong for UUCW, as is this additional goal, “Adapt the opportunities provided by the church, making them more accessible given the pace and schedule of my life (i.e. online education, early morning classes, lunch discussions).”
The Vital Signs Report names UUCW a high-energy, high-satisfaction church. It calls our organizational culture Progressive-Adaptable. The nickname for this organizational culture is Magi. The book, “Owl Sight: Evidence-Based Discernment and the Promise of Organizational Intelligence for Ministry,” by J. Russell Crabtree (founder of HolyCow Consulting) explains. “Magi churches are ultimately concerned with the rational integrity of their faith, the just application of faith to life, and the journey of understanding and discovery. Adherence to these values shapes the community, which, at its best, exhibits deep knowledge, open discourse, and intellectual curiosity. …The church (is) a powerful ally for those in need of advocacy and a formidable foe to those with a different perspective on an issue. It is common in Magi cultures to hear folks talk about issues from a systems perspective and the need to develop safeguards for those with minority status or who lack the power to protect themselves.” (p. 117)
The UUCW Board looks forward to using the CAT results as we navigate the upcoming year, and sharing more information with UUCW’s lay leaders and members.
For more information, contact David Feil, UUCW President via the church office.