Long Range Planning

Ark and Dove Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT) Survey Summary


We have the results for our Congregation Assessment Tool (CAT) survey. We invited a total of 264 individuals to participate, and we received 130 total responses. Overall, 84 percent of respondents indicated they are satisfied with things at Ark and Dove. Compared to other churches in the database, 84 percent is a very high level of satisfaction. Those who feel most positive about Ark and Dove cite the following:


  • Our Pastors listen for feelings, as well as words, and treat feelings as important.
  • Our Pastors preach with integrity.
  • Our Pastors preside over worship with care, engaging the people in a meaningful way.
  • Our church provides high quality education that is appropriate to every age and stage of life.
  • Our Pastor is present in times of crisis.


The survey assessment company reminds us that all churches have strengths and weaknesses. For Ark and Dove the survey indicates we have potential strengths around inclusiveness and advocacy. Our potential weaknesses may include a tendency to intellectualize every issue and difficulty in establishing an identity and vision. In other words, our tendency towards inclusiveness may make it more difficult for us to define what we are not.


The survey also revealed that as our 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.
  • Create more opportunities for people to form meaningful relationships (small groups, nurtured friendships, shared meals).
  • Develop the spiritual generosity of the people to financially support the mission of the church.
  • Enlarge or expand the physical facilities to expand and enhance our ministries.


In comparison to other churches, three goals are unusually strong for our church:


  • Enlarging or expanding the physical facilities;
  • Creating more opportunities for people to form meaningful relationships;
  • Expanding outreach ministries that provide direct services to those living on the margins of society (eg. homeless, immigrant, transient persons).


Other key findings:


  • We are a Pastor focused church. Pastor focused churches can accomplish a great deal, but can also tax the Pastors.
  • Compared to other churches in the database, Ark and Dove exhibits a very high level of energy and a high focus on activities outside of worship.
  • Ark and Dove is very adaptable or flexible, meaning we are willing to change our worship services to meet the needs of members or alter our programs to more readily meet the needs of our community.
  • We also score high on hospitality, morale, conflict management, governance, readiness for ministry, engagement in education and worship and music.


The one area Ark and Dove has a lower score is on spiritual vitality. On the survey this category is measured by questions that discuss the centrality of God and spirituality to a person’s life. It is not unusual for progressive, highly educated congregations to score lower on this metric.  Ark and Dove fits the profile of a progressive, highly educated and high-income congregation.


Our giving as a percentage of household income is 2.19 percent, which places us in the 46th percentile. Average giving for most churches is approximately 2.5 percent of household income.


Overall, Ark and Dove has a climate that is defined as Transformational and a culture described as MAGI.


A Transformational climate is one marked by above average satisfaction with how things are going and above average morale, both of which go together to create a relatively high level of vitality in the congregation. This level of vitality offers the church strategic options including growth, expansion of ministry or facilities, replication, or increased external impact. These outcomes are not guaranteed but are real possibilities if the church continues to take risks and adopts the appropriate strategies. The kind of pastoral leadership necessary for a church in this climate to thrive is a person who can serve as an orchestra conductor, keeping an eye on all the parts of the church to keep them moving in sync with each other and with the vision while bringing out the best in the leadership already in place.


A MAGI culture is one where members of the church are likely to embrace changes from time to time either because they enjoy variety or they know that change is necessary to reach a changing society. On average, the church is theologically more progressive. The combination of an adaptable approach to change and a more progressive theological perspective gives the church potential strengths that include curiosity, advocacy, and inclusiveness. On the other hand, the church may find it difficult to develop a clear and compelling vision for its future, and may rely too heavily upon reason to generate enthusiasm.[1]

[1] Definitions of Transformational Climate and MAGI Culture provide by Crow’s Feet Consulting