Westminster Presbyterian Church

Westminster Presbyterian Church is a congregation in West Hartford, CT that found itself at a crossroads. They needed help exploring what worship means to them, as well as exploration of staffing models. We worked with them by providing a congregational assessment tool, and then using that as well as a staffing audit and worship audit to provide recommendations for their life moving forward. We then coached the pastor in implementing our recommendations.

Case Study

A traditional church must find a path between the comforts of tradition and the challenges of deeper engagement in spiritual growth and community life.

  1. Who are we as a congregation?

  2. How do we relate to our community?

  3. How do we re-invigorate a once glorious music program?

  4. How do we attract people to worship?

  5. Do we have the right structure to support our work and worship?

  6. How do we stay relevant and serve God fully?


Congregational Assessment Tool (CAT)—Surveying beliefs and priorities, rather than likes and preferences, the CAT reveals aspects of congregational identity that lay the foundation for meaningful, sustainable growth and change.

Staff Audit—Focusing on the needs of the congregation and its larger context, staffing is aligned and re-framed in life-giving ways that reflect the true priorities of the church’s mission and vision. No more structure for structure’s sake.

Worship and Music Audit and Modeling—Coming out of the choir loft and revisiting the relationships among the elements and entry points that deepen and expand opportunities for worship, the audit, along with coaching and guidance, breathes new life into the center of congregational experience. 


Congregational self-understanding leads to new ways of being that are authentic and full of possibility.

Staffing that reflects the life and mission of the church, rather than serving a structure that no longer fits, frees church leadership to be more creative and engaged.

Breaking a mold of passive and performative traditions, worship and music is integrated with congregational and community life, taking full advantage of space and time, infusing life and opening toward the movement of the Spirit


Outward facing priorities that look beyond whether we’re keeping the congregation happy.

Intergenerational spiritual engagement and integration with day-to-day life.

Diversity and creativity in music, art, use of space, conversation, and worship patterns.

The work we did with Vandersall, looking deeply at who we are as a church and what’s possible for our ministry in the future, has started to manifest itself in the way we meet together, in how we worship, how we’re rethinking our structure, and how we allow the Spirit to move us in discernment rather than always just “planning and doing.” What a great surprise to find that this work also gave me a springboard into work at the General Assembly on the denomination’s Way Forward Committee. I found that I knew how to listen for what was needed, and had the vocabulary at the ready to talk about exciting possibilities for the future of the church.
— Julie Emery