The Secret to a Successful Assessment—Three Churches Share their Stories
It can often be difficult to ask questions that provide an accurate view of your church’s health, and the spiritual state of your congregants—but understanding your members is essential to helping them feel engaged in the church, and in their own spiritual growth.
Leaders of a church in Ohio understood this as they worked to “help members live extraordinary lives and really know Jesus.” To see if their congregants were in alignment with this objective, they ran their first assessment and discovered some startling insights into how their members felt about their own spirituality. Congregants also reported a disconnect with ministry objectives. They knew they had to make some changes to stay true to the goal they wanted the church to accomplish.
Church leaders often set goals intended to help their people grow and become all they were born to be, but it can be difficult to understand which actions will make the biggest difference.
This was the case for leaders of a church in Washington that wanted members to do more than just “go to church,” and leaders of a church in Chicago that wanted to know more about their congregants than their giving trends or how many attended services each week.
Each of these church leaders decided to try scientifically-backed assessments to ensure they asked questions that generated the right insights—so they could make informed decisions about how to improve their congregants’ experience.
Ohio—Develops Plan to Connect Members with God
The leaders of the Ohio church used the results of their assessment to create a plan that would guide congregants to improved personal spiritual practices by providing small groups with a printed “personal study guide” for use in their curriculum. They also encouraged a deeper connection with God by introducing a new evangelism strategy focused on prayer.
They knew the key to church satisfaction began the moment a new member walked in the door, so they incorporated a “spiritual pathway” into their on-boarding program for new attendees. This had an added benefit of educating new members about their ministry objectives.
They felt these changes would help their members feel more connection to their objectives as a church, and be able to develop closer relationships with Jesus.
From Energized to Vibrant
These church leaders tracked progress through additional assessments as they made their changes—and the results were astounding. Their church went from “energized” to “vibrant,” and their members experienced significant personal spiritual growth. Their plans to help members “more fully connect with God” was working, and congregants reported that they now saw themselves on a quest to know and serve Christ.
Chicago—Asks What They Can Do Better
Leaders of the Chicago church had experimented with surveys to try and get a better understanding of how their members felt about the church, and their own spirituality, but it took too much time to create, analyze, and make sense of the information they received. The surveys also lacked scientific backing, so they couldn’t be sure they were even collecting the information they needed most. That’s when they decided to invite their members to take their first assessment, right on their phones, during a regular Sunday service.
As an inter-generational church, they wanted to understand which generation felt the most engaged, and if any felt disconnected with the current programs in the church. The results that came in from the assessment were evenly split between generations, giving them the answers they needed—identifying gaps in their programs and services so they could make the changes that would help their members feel welcomed, engaged, and have opportunities to thrive.
Tracking Through Assessments
These church leaders are using additional assessments to track changes in their congregation as they implement new, small groups and other programs to keep all members feeling engaged.
Washington—Understands Why Members Feel Disconnected
Leaders of the church in Washington saw the potential to track growth by using assessments, and ran their first to establish a baseline. They wanted to understand why some of their members felt disconnected, so they could implement changes to help re-engage them. Running a series of assessments would allow them to track the effectiveness of their efforts as they worked to move their church from a place of complacency to “energized.”
The insights from the assessment helped inform some difficult, although necessary changes. They changed the worship leader, introduced more intentionally Bible-focused teachings, helped congregants reflect more on scripture, and increased celebrations of local community service through the church.
Significant Increase in Church Satisfaction and Vitality
Their efforts weren’t in vain. They saw significant increases in church satisfaction and spiritual vitality, and noticed improved personal spiritual practices among their members.
Church Leaders Gain the Right Insights from Congregants
In each of these stories, church leaders were able to surface specific insights that allowed them to make informed decisions—based on answers directly from those they serve. When they conducted follow-up assessments to track the results of their efforts, congregants reported feeling more engaged, spiritually mature, and secure in their personal spiritual practices.
And each of these stories boil down to one thing: asking the right questions.
The Secret to a Successful Assessment
As a pastor, or church leader, it’s essential to understand the issues your members face in order to better serve them. You can gain these insights when you ask the right questions. In his blog, How the Best Church Assessments Enable Leaders to Gain and Give Wisdom, Forrest Hersom explains that assessments that ask the right questions:
Provide a deeper understanding of your people and your church
Help you differentiate between states and traits
Are the result of years of research
A successful assessment doesn’t end the moment it provides the right questions. It should include reports after the results come in so you can visualize the insights you receive and make informed decisions—enabling you to build stronger relationships with your congregants. You should use an assessment that’s backed by years of data science and research, one that’s readily accessible and easy to use. Most of all, a successful assessment should ask questions in a way that instills trust.
Psychologist and Director of Assessments at Gloo, Dr. Peter Larson explains, “It's a big responsibility to take on the role of shepherding someone else’s growth. A validated assessment gives you a head start and provides a roadmap you [and your people] can trust.”
We Make Assessments Easy
Assessments, a new capability on the Gloo platform, provides a variety of church assessments from trusted providers like American Bible Society, Christian Life Profile, and REVEAL. Scientifically validated, each assessment can be customized to fit your needs, so you can collect the data that matters to you—directly from your own people.
If you’re a current Gloo customer, you get access to Assessments with your current subscription. If you’re new to Gloo, and would like to see a demo, or want to create an account, request a demo today.