Church Check-Up Questionnaire Results

Give to everyone who asks…”   – Jesus

In our gospel for Sunday Jesus says that we are to “give to everyone who asks” (Matthew 5:42). About a month ago I asked the people of St. Paul’s to give me their feed-back on how I’m doing as their rector, and on how we’re doing as a church, and boy! did they give it to me!
We had 47 people fill out the ‘Church Check-Up Questionnaire’ and each of them offered clear, constructive and honest input. The following is a summary of their feed-back.

90% or more either “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with 89% of the statements in the Questionnaire.
Most of the feed-back people offered was positive. 90% or more of the respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with 89% of the statements listed in the questionnaire, and for the most part agreement did not dip below 80%. This is significant because each of the statements were meant to describe a positive aspect of my ministry and/or the life and health of our church. The fact that so many people agreed with so many of the statements indicates that in general people are feeling positive about how things are going.

And yet, people also clearly feel, just as I do, that there are areas of my ministry and of our church’s life in which there is room for improvement.

Let’s Talk about me 🙂
At least 91% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed with all but two of the statements in the questionnaire that were about me and my ministry. The following two statements saw agreement drop to just 88%:

The pastor provides direction for the programs and ministries of the church.”

“The pastor listens to my concerns for the church.”

Comments offered in reference to the first of these statements recommended that I be clearer with the congregation about the purpose and importance of the programs and ministries of our church, and that I be more intentional about encouraging the congregation to promote these ministries and programs out in the wider community. These comments also stated, however, that some of this was already being addressed through the communication work done by our office administrator.

Comments offered in reference to the second statement indicate that while people did in fact feel listened to, they also felt that some of their concerns had yet to be addressed.

This feed-back says to me that leadership is one of the areas of my ministry where there is the greatest opportunity for improvement, and in particular, providing greater clarity in leadership.

I need to get better at helping all of us be clear about what it is that we are doing as a church and why. I believe that greater clarity will help all of us better understand the purpose of our church’s programs and ministries and make all of us much more ready to invite our neighbours to get involved.
I also think greater clarity will help people feel better understood when they share with me their concerns for our church. It will help them see where their particular concerns fit into the long and complex list of challenges and opportunities that face our church, and it may help them see what steps they need to take to ensure that their concerns are not only heard but addressed.

The other area of my ministry where it seems there is the greatest opportunity for improvement is preaching.
While no fewer than 91% of respondents either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with the statements in the questionnaire about my preaching, this section did show a significant shift in people’s responses from ‘strongly agree’ to ‘agree’. This says to me that there is room for improvement in this area of my ministry as well.

What’s exciting to me is that preaching and leadership are precisely the areas in which I am already the most eager to grow. My recent participation in the St. Celement’s College of Preachers and my on-going participation in the Laurel Buckingham Leadership Development Program (both of which were paid for by the Diocese of Fredericton) have already given me a lot of insight into how my preaching and leadership can improve and grow to the benefit of our church.

I’m also eager to learn how I can better offer pastoral care that is intentional about helping people with their spiritual growth. Obviously, there will always be the need for pastoral care for people in times of crisis, but the rest of the questionnaire indicates that there is a significant need for focused attention on the spiritual growth and development (a.k.a. discipleship) of our people.

Let’s Talk about Spiritual Growth and Discipleship
The statements in the questionnaire about the spiritual growth and discipleship of our people were another area where agreement dipped below 90%, and in one case below 76%.
Only 82% agree with the statement that our church is a “community of growing disciples of Jesus”. Likewise, only 82% agreed that our people are comfortable even talking about Jesus. Only 80% felt that our people are able to speak naturally about their spiritual lives, and just 76% agreed with the statement that they knew what their spiritual gifts were and how to use them.

All of this says to me that while spiritual growth and discipleship and following Jesus are important to our church, these are also areas in which there is still room for improvement.

Thankfully, there are many resources available to us to help make this happen.

Let’s Talk about Worship
Every one of our respondents stated that they enjoy worshipping in our church. While we may think that should be a given, it’s worth remembering that for many years people mostly came to church out of a sense of duty. According to people’s responses to the questionnaire, however, those who come to St. Paul’s to worship do so because they enjoy worshipping at St. Paul’s.

This is also important to note because people’s tastes in worship styles and worship music in our church are quite diverse.

Roughly 40% strongly agreed that the music used in our worship enhances their worship, moves them spiritually, and speaks to them personally. Another 30% simply agreed that our music in worship accomplished these things, but another 30% indicated that they did not feel this way; that the music did not enhance their worship, move them spiritually or speak to them personally. And yet, once again, in spite of this diversity of perspectives, all of them said they enjoy worshipping at St. Paul’s. This says to me that, in spite of our differences, there is a strong foundation for growth and development in our worship together.


Our focus…ought to be on simply getting our people singing together to God.


People’s comments about music in worship were very constructive and they say to me that, regardless of their musical preferences, our people want to sing and they want to sing together to God.

Our most important musical asset is the voice of our people, and so our focus, when it comes to music in worship, ought to be on simply getting our people singing together to God. I’m grateful for the feed-back offered through the questionnaire about music and worship and am confident that it will help me and our music leaders become more effective at bringing out the musical voice of our people in worship.

There is something so amazing that happens when people are able to focus less on their musical preferences and more on simply singing together to God. They start to actually worship God. And when that happens, not only does worship become more enjoyable…it becomes transformative.

I hope this summary of the feed-back from the questionnaire is helpful.

I am so grateful for all the feed-back that has come to me through this questionnaire because I know that, by taking it seriously, it will help me become a better pastor and help us become a healthier and more effective church.

If you have any questions about anything I’ve said here or about the feed-back generated by the questionnaire please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Sincerely,
Rev. David Turner
Rector

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2017 02 19 St Paul’s News