From Pastors and Leaders
The Park Church Council determined that it was the right time for us to assess and evaluate the strategic plan for our church. We were introduced to the Healthy Church Survey Process in our review of several potential planning tools for us to consider. The Council chose to use the Healthy Church Survey Process because of its focus on encouraging the involvement and participation of all church members in the planning process. We liked the concept of receiving structured feedback from our members on the eleven identified characteristics of a healthy church. This feedback was based on the members’ evaluation of Park Church in addition to an assessment of their personal “status” regarding the eleven characteristics. We have been very impressed with the participation of our members in taking the survey and in the follow-up discussions regarding the feedback we received from them. The process results in ownership and involvement by the members and we are excited about prioritizing specific action plans for the future of our church based on the assessment of the survey feedback and follow-up member conversations.
Dale Scholten, Council President, Park CRC, Holland, Michigan
The Healthy Church Survey was a great asset in an overall process we were doing to seek God's leading in our church. We were able to celebrate some areas of ministry that we do well and identify some other areas that we need to do better. The survey was broad enough to help us think about more than just what we already do in our church. It also provided an opportunity for many people to be involved in filling out surveys and discussing the results. Our leadership found the results helpful and understandable as we tried to assess where to put new energy in order to strengthen our church.
Dan Ackerman, Senior Pastor, Kelloggsville Christian Reformed Church, Kelloggsville, Michigan
"A broad range of congregational participation in the Healthy Church process produced a nice summary of necessary goals for going forward. We ended with an ownership quotient higher than I have seen in any other planning process."
Douglas M. Mac Leod, Pastor of Preaching and Administration, Calvin Christian Reformed Church, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
“The two best aspects of H.C. were (1) that the survey asked members to evaluate themselves personally as well as the congregation, and (2) the leaders' retreat which generated not just good ideas/goals but also enthusiasm and energy.”
Henry Admiraal, Pastor of Westend CRC, Grand Rapids, Michigan
I have found the Healthy Church Survey to be a helpful tool in helping the church come to terms with its areas of vitality and challenge in ministry. I'm particularly appreciative of the fact that Healthy Church is not simply a survey but an integrated process that encourages and equips the church to be the church in word and deed. I also found the Healthy Church leadership team remarkably responsive and insightful in providing guidance for the journey.
David Dethmers, Specialized Transition Minister, Ridgewood CRC, Jenision, Michigan
As a Healthy Church Coach, I have had the opportunity to work with several churches as they go through the Healthy Church process. Church leadership often struggles with knowing if the things that they are doing as a church are actually making a difference. The Healthy Church Survey and the congregational conversations help the church celebrate its strengths and also identify any challenges or ministry opportunities. Through this process, the congregation is able to better determine who they are and what kind of church they want to be moving forward. This allows leadership to build consensus on ministry priorities that are attainable and can be embraced by the congregation.
Rick Droog, Healthy Church Coach, Orange City, Iowa
We were one of the pilot churches for the Healthy Church process. We found it to be very helpful for the following reasons:
- After receiving the feedback/results, our leadership was affirmed that we had a pretty good read on the needs, concerns and fruitfulness of our ministries.
- The process, especially the results, gave the council, pastors and ministry leaders objective documentation to make changes, begin new ministries and meet felt needs.
- A program of reading through the Bible in 90 days was birthed from this process because we found a desire, individually, to know the scriptures better.
Rev. Trent Walker, Senior Pastor
Harderwyk Christian Reformed Church
We really liked how the Healthy Church Survey invited anyone and everyone from the church to be part of it, giving a good sense of ownership of the process.
With the HCS we are looking to even grow that sense of ownership and embrace the potential initiatives that were prayerfully discerned through our Congregational Forum.
Rev. Ray Vander Kooij, Pastor
Bethel Christian Reformed Church
General Statements without specific church reference (from the 2010 pilot study):
“The survey results gave the council a confirmation of what they already knew about the church’s areas of weakness. The survey provided useful information and solid footing to initiate the necessary changes.”
“The survey, being a unique mirror in which the congregation sees itself, revealed some interesting qualities of the church.
“This vibrant church is a generous rural congregation with a passion for prayer and a strong sense of church family. These qualities were highlit by the survey.”
“The weaker areas of the congregation that were discovered through the survey included: expressing personal faith, engaging all members in ministry, and inadequate training and mentoring.”
“The survey itself is not threatening but rather inviting.”
“There were some very simple outcomes as they (the congregation) took action on the survey results. Survey results regarding “centrality of the Word” inspired 70% of church members to participate in 90 days of bible reading. Pastor _______ was amazed that the church would be willing to do “homework.” The main fruit that came about as a result of the survey was the bible reading.”
“The survey results confirmed the following:
- Church leaders know the people
- They were heading in the right direction as a church
- They were aware of their areas of weakness
- Church leaders and congregation have the facts of where they are as a church.”
From a Canadian church involved in the pilot, written by the pastor of a healthy church which has done the survey, received the results, had leadership discussions about the results and was planning the Congregational Conversation at the time of writing this
“We very much appreciated the opportunity to be part of the HCI survey pilot, especially in how it coincided so well with doing our 3rd NCD survey. The results seem at initial reading to reflect similar strength and growth areas. We really liked how the HCI invited anyone and everyone from the church to be part of it, giving a good sense of ownership of the process. We have enjoyed good ownership of NCD results by the leadership in the past and also an embracing by the congregation of action items discerned from the results. With the HCI we are looking to even grow the sense of ownership and embracing of potential initiatives that are prayerfully discerned. One aspect that we did find some concerns about was the emphasis on being “Reformed.” While we don’t want to downplay being Reformed we also did not see the need to emphasize this or give such tight definition in assessing the health of a church. We prefer to put the emphasis on what we share in common with other churches and denominations and feel that a commitment to basic biblical and doctrinal truths is essential for being a healthy church, but don’t see a Reformed emphasis as having such a significant role to play and we find this makes the HCI survey a very in-house document that was not easy to understand in these areas both by newer and longer time members. That was the only point we had concerns about and were curious regarding.
“We look forward to moving forward with the Congregational Conversation, as together we seek to prayerfully discern where the Spirit is guiding us as a church. Thanks so much Jack to being on the journey with us!”