First Presbyterian Church of Chittenango

Executive Summary - Congregational Assessment Tool
Chittenango Presbyterian, April 2021

70 people were invited to participate in the survey, with 61 individuals responding. That return rate is fantastic as it reflects 203% of your worship attendance. Congratulations!

Your congregation reports an average amount of energy and satisfaction as compared to other congregations that have taken the survey. Approximately 41% of your members are clearly satisfied with the church, which suggests that members can imagine a church with a higher level of vitality. The strong response rate combined with this information suggests that you are searching for a way that will lead you to a stronger church.

Like many congregations, your top two priorities are making changes to attract families with children and youth, and to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new folks and to incorporate them into the life of the church. One of the challenges to this is that your congregation reports that they are somewhat resistant to change. Your congregation finds it easier to change for folks who are already in the pews… as opposed to folks who are not yet a part of your congregation.

You identify as what Russ Crabtree (founder of Holy Cow!) calls a “Hearth and Home Church”. The blessings of this kind of church is that you offer a much needed shelter in a storm. Those who are members of your congregation often see it as being their church home – and other members as family. It’s a good place to be! Every church exhibits patterns in its life that contain strengths and potential weaknesses. Your church has potential strengths related to stability and clarity of belief. Potential weaknesses include a tendency to become tradition-bound and conflict-prone.

You identified several areas that would help you to be a stronger church:

  1. Flexibility! The old adage “we aren’t going to change for change’s sake” may help keep a mission on task, but it can also make us a bit inflexible. Those of us of a certain age know what happens when we don’t use certain muscles… we become stiff.. Your top identified priority is to “make necessary changes to attract families with children and youth”. Practicing the discipline of (small!) changes can help exercise that muscle.

  2.  Focus on improving/enhancing the quality of your music and worship program. Although there may be some wisdom in waiting until your next pastor is on board… this is a critical need and should be addressed sooner as opposed to later.

  3. Your third highest priority was to “develop ministries that work toward healing those broken by life circumstances”. Consider where you might build or enhance coalitions outside the church that share your vision and commitment for renewing and revitalizing the larger community.

All the information in this report should be explored and validated in further conversation. Survey data is not the end of a conversation but the beginning. Please know that I keep you in my prayers as you continue to discern the ministry God is calling you to do in Chittenango!

Rev. Karen Chamis
Resource Presbyter, Presbytery of Cayuga-Syracuse


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