Church 101 Survey
First of all I would like to thank everyone who participated in this church survey. Looking at the raw data, we nearly made it to 100 participants (93 to be exact). Obviously within this small sampling we can begin to glean some information regarding personal preference and worship settings.
Perhaps some of these survey questions were random, and the wording could have been better, but I think you might be interested in the results so let’s get to the good stuff –
I will not go through the questions in order but rather look at the demographics first.
Age of our survey grouping –
Within this data we can see that the majority of those participating in the survey were between the ages of 25 – 64. The 25-34 age range produced the most responses to this survey at 28% of the total 93 person survey. This is, however, a wide age demographic, and if more survey questions had been conducted we may have also seen the many differences between these generations within the variations of answers.
This might not be too surprising to you. Acceptance & Fellowship was the top answer in this survey (thank you to survey participant who gave me a chuckle regarding the food answer). Granted, strong spiritual teaching by a Pastor is vital, but the sense of belonging and friendship/fellowship trumps the pastor’s preaching abilities. I am sure we can all relate to this, if we’ve ever visited a church for the first time. We will more than likely place how other parishioners (church members) receive us as visitors over the first time impression of the pastor’s message. This isn’t to say that the message and the content of the message isn’t important, but rather how others receive us within their fellowship becomes the tipping point to regularly entering into that fellowship or finding the nearest exit as soon as the “Amen’s” are said.
Questions to consider –
1. “How friendly is your current fellowship of believers?”
2. “How can you, as a church body, strive to be more accepting to “outsiders”?
“The church exists primarily for two closely correlated purposes: to worship God and to work for his kingdom in the world … The church also exists for a third purpose, which serves the other two: to encourage one another, to build one another up in faith, to pray with and for one another, to learn from one another and teach one another, and to set one another examples to follow, challenges to take up, and urgent tasks to perform. This is all part of what is known loosely as fellowship.”
― N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense
A majority of people polled within this survey (82%) indicated that tithing was important. We can all attest to the fact that tithing is scriptural, but when it comes to personal opinion or preference one can asked “what is tithing?” A follow-up question might be “Is tithing only about money?”
In some of the responses to this question, under “Other -please specify“, participants indicated that it depends on what we term “tithing” to be. Also the answers indicated a healthy dose of cynicism or skepticism as to what type of church one would tithe to.
This is a spiritual act of worship and a discipline that must be taught. Granted, we might become skeptical of tithing when we hear about funds being improperly used from mega churches of televangelists out to make a quick buck.
Regardless of how we view tithing, it should be noted once again that though it is an act of worship, tithing can mean much more than just our personal finance, although financial support can play a major role.
“..tithing isn’t something I do to clear my conscience so I can do whatever I want with the 90 percent–it also belongs to God! I must seek his direction and permission for whatever I do with the full amount. I may discover that God has different ideas than I do.”
― Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions and Eternity
If we were to have a break down of the demographics within this question we might find that this data is rather telling. Generationally speaking, the “Silent Generation” (1927-1945) and even the “Baby Boomers” (1946-1964) can identify with the 59% within this survey. Sunday is traditionally the day in which we go to church and worship the Lord. This, however, at times has become so “traditional” and staunch that younger generations such as the “Gen-Xers” and the “Millennials” are seeking alternative worship options.
Thus the 34% of those who participated in this survey indicated that they were unsure if Saturday or Sunday was the best day for Worship services. I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing or an indication that younger generations are shunning the older “traditional” worship times, but rather that people are inundated with busy schedules and family events and find themselves struggling to make it to a traditional 10am Sunday Worship service.
One could make the assumption that people need to re-adjust their priorities about worship, but does this merely mean they MUST conform to a certain generational structured setting in worship?
Questions to consider:
“Are there other times that worship can be held?”
“Is there anything scripturally wrong with meeting at other times in the week?” (Obvious answer is “No”)
“Do you have enough support locally and through your Church denominational headquarters to change times or offer an alternative time for worship?”
Other questions? (Please feel free to add your own!)
Is faithful church attendance important to you? The majority of those who completed this survey indicated (95%) that it most definitely was important.
This is greatly connected with our need for belonging within the fellowship of believers if we are Christ-followers. Reasons we may feel this strongly about church attendance could be because we are challenged by other believers to grow. There is also an accountability element with regular church attendance. Also another reason might be because we are comfortable with our “church family” or that our “church family” is in actuality members of our own immediate (blood) families.
Regardless this statistic should be of no surprise to most of us.
D.L. Moody once said, “Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.”
This might not be all too surprising considering the wide demographic that is represented in this survey. Perhaps the question could have been phrased a little better to indicate “worship style or preference”, but despite this 67% or those polled indicated that a mixed style of worship was preferred. Only 6% indicated a strict “traditional” style of worship service, while 19% indicated they desired a “contemporary” style of worship.
Does this surprised anyone? I think not. In “Modern” churches out there that push our concept of what worship is, we see that there is still a draw back to the traditional hymns as well as the ancient hymns. Therefore a mix of both styles of worship seem inevitable within the walls of the current modern church. This is a continuation of the demographic makeup within this survey and even the general consensus in American churches today. There are the exceptions, especially among more conservative/traditional church denominations, but growing trends suggest that mixed worship setting is more readily accepted by most church-going Americans (even leaning towards more contemporary means).
Questions to consider:
“Is my church contemporary, traditional or a mix of the two?”
“What is the age makeup of my church?”
“Would we attract more visitors to our worship services if they were more contemporary?”
“What does traditional worship look like?”
“What does modern contemporary worship look like?”
“What does a mix of the two worship styles look like?”
“The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in
God which made David dance.”
I view this survey and its results as an ongoing conversation about how we view “Church”. Also I would solicit your comments here on this blog as to the results as well as your thoughts on where the Church is heading in the future. What should we, as Christ followers be doing more of? How can we be more effective in our witness and worship? Worship of God is both an individual and a corporate event and I believe there is still more that we can learn and do for the glory of God!
Another thing that comes to my mind to me is that we must be mindful not to become so bogged down by our style of worship and traditions that they become our sacred cows.
-Thanks for your contributions to these surveys and I look forward to your comments and responses.