Major Steps in Assessment

Major Steps in Church Assessment: Teichrob-Wride Approach

1. Assumptions

  • The kind of assessment required for  the purposes of Transition require the Transitional leader to have a reasonably good working relationship with the congregation before launching into the assessment work.  Many Transitional Leaders work with the church for about 90 days before starting on assessment.
  • The purpose of the assessment is health based, its goal is to find all of the areas that are healthy in the church and then to discover areas that require greater health.  The principles of the appreciative inquiry are used.
  • The outcomes of the assessment will be shared with the entire congregation
  • The assessment will include Key Result Areas (KRA’s) as a way to address those areas which are in need of greater health prior to engaging in the pastoral search.
  • The assessment process will continually celebrate and elevate areas of health in the church.
  • The assessment will be customized to fit the local church context
  • The assessment will be presented as a process of spiritual formation, reflection and discernment for the congregation rather than a clinical evaluation, this approach will require teaching and preaching.

2.  Process: The assessment will try to answer the following questions:

2.1  Who were we?

  • This includes the writing (usually by committee) of a concise new history of the church from its foundations, but it is written for the purpose of assessment.  Most previous histories are usually written for the purpose of anniversaries and milestone events.  They can tend to be hagiographic (at worst) or selectively anecdotal.  The purpose of the history is to help the congregation understand the story of the church so that everyone is working from a common history based on facts and how those facts have shaped the life and culture of the church.

2.2  Who are we now?

  • This includes an accurate picture of the church as it is currently.  Attendance, demographics, ministries, general health, finances, vision and mission statements, core values and any other things that will help everyone get on the same page about the current condition of the church.
  • This also includes the results of the Basic Level of Church Health survey that has been created by Outreach Canada.  Sometimes we add questions to this survey based on context.  This survey helps the congregation understand what the congregation as a whole is thinking about 11 key areas of church life.
  • This may include another survey related to Readiness for Change.  We have found this piece helpful in some cases but not all.

2.3  What is our context? (could be also described as “Where are we?”)

  • My experience with churches is that few have done any work to exegete their surrounding communities.  They are often unaware of their surroundings, or they make assumptions which are unfounded.  (Example – “Kelowna has a high percentage of seniors”)  This part of the survey is intended to provide a picture of the community demographic and its features.  Sometimes a comparison of the community to the church is helpful and eye-opening

2.4  Observations

  • We tend to include at different points within the assessment some observations that identify some of the strengths and growth areas.  You will see some of these sprinkled throughout the powerpoint

2.5  Key Result Areas (KRAs)

  • We like to present what we believe are the KRAs that need to be addressed in order for the church to build on areas of health as well as address areas that require greater health.  These KRAs are based on the assessment, what we have learned being on site, working with the Elders Board and the staff, and often based on patterns that emerge by studying the church’s history.  We also like to identify with the Board which KRAs need to be addressed prior to engaging in the search process, during the search process, or after the new pastor has arrived.

Next Steps after the Assessment

3.1  The answers to these four questions helps to set the church up to answer more questions:

  • What is our sense of mission and vision?
  • What is the role of the Senior Pastor in setting or shaping mission and vision?
  • Who stewards the mission and vision of the church?
  • Based on the answers to these questions and the overall assessment “What kind of leader do we need?”

3.2  These questions become the Table of Contents for the Pastoral Search Profile and the answers become the content.  (see sample provided)

[1] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appreciative_inquiry as a starting point for understanding the AI approach