West Valley Foursquare Church – Yakima, Washington

Stories of Transformation: West Valley Foursquare Gets Intentional

By Aaron Earls

Using a church evaluation tool like TCAT can help your church be more effective.

In the apple growing community of Yakima, Washington, West Valley Foursquare Church was facing some transitions and attendance had recently dipped.

Planted in 2002, most things seemed to be going relatively well on the surface, but Senior Pastor Tom Lawson and Executive Pastor Tanya MacDermid wanted to verify their church was headed in the right direction, so they turned to the Transformational Church Assessment Tool.

“I’m optimistic by nature and so sometimes I think everything is good,” says Lawson. “So I like to have some kind of system or test to see if things are going as good as I think they are.”

In many ways, TCAT confirmed their positive outlook. “Leadership was a big one for us,” says MacDermid. “We have good leaders here, so we shared that with the congregation.”

However, they also saw areas of improvement. Some seemed to be simple fixes, according to Lawson. They saw they needed to do better as a church in maintaining a missionary mentality.

“We told the church, we can fix this,” says Lawson. “Start in your family. Start in your neighborhood. If they’re unsaved, be more evangelistic. Show them love, encourage them, accept them and pray for them.”

Other areas were more surprising and required more attention. “I was shocked that we weren’t being intentional when it came to relationships,” says Lawson.

In an attempt to foster more intentionality in the relationships of their small group members, Lawson says West Valley changed “from a free market system to sermon-based Life Groups.”

After only a quarter of the year into the new system, the church has seen involvement in small groups double—from around 50 to more than 100. With only two weeks left in their series, Lawson also says attendance is holding strong. “Those are two indicators that tell me sermon-based Life Groups are working,” he says.

Thanks in part to the information revealed by TCAT, West Valley Foursquare is in a stronger position moving forward.

This article first appeared at The Exchange.


Aaron Earls is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.