By Chris Martin
When interim pastor and church consultant Lavern “Bud” Brown was leading Mountain Vista Bible Church in Mesa, Arizona, through a time of transition, he decided it was a good time to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the congregation.
An experienced church consultant, Brown used the Transformational Church Assessment Tool (TCAT) to study the church’s effectiveness in leadership, community, mission, prayer, worship, and developing relationships with those outside the church.
When Brown led Mountain Vista through TCAT, the church was facing a significant amount of debt and other related challenges. Members were searching for a new pastor and hoping for a refreshing change.
“It takes a skilled pastor and a willing congregation to turn a church around and move out of a slump and into conversion growth,” Brown says. “The scores [on the TCAT] along with the things I was hearing in personal interviews with church members showed me there was willingness to change.”
The assessment forced the church leaders and congregation to take a sober look in the mirror.
The TCAT results reflected the strength of the worship experience and the engagement of the congregation. Having gifted professional musicians enabled the church to produce effective worship services. Members were excited to be in worship and were fully engaged.
But the assessment also revealed the church didn’t have a sense of mission. Leaders would need to tackle that first. Brown also realized much of what church members said they valued was not reflected in the way the church functioned.
The congregation reported small groups were very important and they saw value in the church leadership being personally involved in the lives of the congregation. Brown saw a disconnect between what the congregation said was important and what was actually taking place.
“I slightly disagreed with the congregation on these two points because those values were not visible in the life of the church,” Brown continued. “I was able to say, ‘This is a value you claim to hold, but when we look at what’s happening in small groups, this isn’t really where we’re at.’”
Over the course of the next year, Brown helped Mountain Vista establish a new vision for its discipleship ministry, as well as recruit and train new small group leaders.
Taking TCAT, Brown says, helped the church gain a sense of urgency and seek ways in which it could improve the ministry.
“There was a slow boil development of a desire for change and a desire to challenge the status quo,” Brown said. “The TCAT helped precipitate action and made it much easier to implement changes needed to prepare the church for growth under its next pastor.”
CHRIS MARTIN (@ChrisMartin17) is social media facilitator at Lifeway Christian Resources.