BREAKING NEWS: Church 101 Survey Results

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.


ImageThe survey was conducted with both participating genders, and though 6 people skipped this question we can see that this survey was conducted almost evenly amongst male and female participants.

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.  





Question #1 



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. WrightSimply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

Question #2



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 AlcornMoney, Possessions and Eternity


Question #3



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!)


Question #4



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.”





Question #5

Image  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.” 
C.S. Lewis 


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.   

























Church Practice…Mission & Vision Pt. 2


Church Practice pt.2:

Assessment & Strategy

“Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.” Proverbs 29:18

How do we begin to set our sights on new ventures and capture victories in our church?  Or perhaps how do we recapture the vigor and passion our church once had is a better question?  All too often organic ministry takes shape, spontaneous growth occurs and we just don’t know what to do next.  We say that we want more people coming to church but when they start coming many of us don’t know what to do with them.  Sure some might say, “well we love them.”  And that may be so, but without purpose behind ministry we run the risk of losing these new people because there is just nothing that keeps them coming back.  It’s the work of the Holy Spirit to convict and save, but it’s the church’s responsibility to love them and accept them into the family.  Without acceptance and then provided roles and duties a new member may begin to feel like the third wheel, unwanted and might be eyeing the exit sign.

Questions to consider:

What is your Church’s Mission & Vision?

Do you have these written down?

Have you shared them with your congregation?

Are they posted in a prominent place within your church so that all can see them?

If your answers to these questions is “I don’t know” and “No”, then dare I say that perhaps it’s time to get started on articulating what it is your church wishes to accomplish, what your vision needs to be and how your mission might be accomplished.

How Do We Get Started?

Scripture tells us that people without vision will perish.

1)    Pray:

So perhaps the very first thing you ought to do is pray.  This could be done individually at first then corporately with your core group of leaders.  But prayer is our direct connection with the one who makes all things possible and the only source of our true power and wisdom in this process.  Vision casting cannot effectively take place within the church without first inviting God’s Holy presence to partake in the planning process.  Prayer should not be taken for granted or taken lightly.  Without His wisdom and direction our Mission and vision for our church will not succeed.


2)      Look Back:

I don’t say this so that we will remain there in our past, but rather we might begin to identify exactly why something became successful in your church in the first place.  You might be surprised as to why a program or ministry flourished or grew.  Was it because of the leadership present at the time?  Was it because of the community dynamics?

The whole reason to look back at past victories is twofold.  The first reason is because we need to recognize that God was present in the past and He is here in our present planning.  He has granted us these moments of refinement and we ought to celebrate them!  So we recognize that God was involved in the victories.  The second reason we look back is to identify our victories which will motivate us and cause us to believe that these victories are still possible in this present day!  Be mindful though, that what worked in the past might not work in the present.  This is simply an exercise to identify the victories and the successes so that we can possibly recapture or claim new victories through the planning process.

3)      Know Your Community!

There are any number of statistical web sites out there that can give you vital information regarding the demographics of your community.  Not only will they provide you with the breakdown of ethnic groupings but also median age, education, house hold incomes, and even a statistic of single parents in your neighborhoods.  This information is crucial to recognizing who is living in your church’s radius.  When we can analyze this data we can begin to identify what our mission to our community should be.  For example if there is a high percentage of single parents living in your community you might begin to use this information to craft applicable ministries to meet the needs of single parents.  It is important that as you begin to craft your church’s mission and vision that you have a good understanding of your community and that of its needs.

4)        Know Your Church

This isn’t to mean that you are limited to just the people in your church, but rather to be wise and know who makes up your church and its current ministries.  When you know your church, its specific dynamic, good & bad, generational demographics, educational demographics, then you will begin to see what their needs are also.  From this study you will then also be able to draw from those resources to better help you devise your strategies as you move forward.  With your Core group of leaders you can identify church members who could be utilized in any number of ministries and that of their potential.  It is important to know what you already have and who will support your church’s mission and vision.

5)      S.W.O.T. Analysis

There are other means of analyzing and planning your mission & vision, but this is one tool that I have used and have seen success from.  In your Core group, set aside an hour or two to sit down and do a S.W.O.T. analysis of your church while having your community demographics information at hand.  What is S.W.O.T.?  It is a tool to identify you Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats.  Here is a web link to read up further on this vital tool:

As you get together have some big poster board paper handy, or a couple of dry erase boards available to that you can discuss and identify your church’s strengths and weaknesses, its opportunities and threats.  Write them down as you share, post them on the wall so you begin to see the big picture as you proceed forward.  When these are visible you will begin to grasp where your Mission is, what it looks like in your specific community and then you can cast your vision.

6)      Identifying your Mission

There are many ways to do this, but with the information you have now already done, you can begin to see what it is God is calling your church to be and do in the community He has placed you in.  But be mindful, you must not mistake your vision statement for your mission statement.  These two things are not the same…they are hand in glove but the Mission statement ought to come before the Vision statement.  Your mission is what you do every day, while your vision is what will take place in the future because you are living out this mission every day.  Does that make sense?  Mission is intrinsically who you are, while Vision is where you’d like to be because of who you are.  Mission =Identity, Vision=future.

Since there are a lot of mission statement helps out there, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel here…use some of these resources to help you.  Do some research!  Here is a great tool to help you with your mission statement:

7)      Vision Statement:

Again make sure that you have your mission statement for your specific church nailed down before tackling the vision statement.  It’s like trying to build a house without the foundation.  You need your mission statement to be clear before you can identify where you want to go.  Vision casting might take some time; some continued prayer will be involved.  But remember this is your church, your future and good things don’t come from poor planning or no planning.  It will take some sweat and possibly tears to get there.

Video Helps:

When I went to college for organizational leadership, I learned this process and it struck me how simple it can be but many times we make it out to be so complex.  With your Core leaders there has to be no ego, no sugar coating, just humble servants wanting to invest in what God has given you and your church ministries.  When you put your church and community under the microscope it might be painful, yet endure the uncomfortable nature of this process because great things can and will take place if you allow God to use you and your church for His purposes alone!

Feel free to send me questions or feedback if you are interested in starting this process with your church.  I have a real passion for churches going through or needing to go through this planning process!

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