RESEARCH & VISION
understanding yourself & your community
understanding your local body...
In every organization, it’s useful to take the temperature of the people who make the work happen. Knowing how they feel about the cause itself and the effort they’re putting in can give any organization a keen understanding of its internal health.
Here are two useful tools for keeping your finger on the pulse of your church...
Church Member Survey
What do your members and staff see as the strengths and weaknesses of your church? Why do they attend? While conducting a survey may appear to be a large task, United Methodist Communications took the liberty of preparing one for United Methodist churches through surveymonkey.com.
- To access the survey, click “Get your PDF file” in the Tools sidebar on this page. You’ll receive a PDF copy of the survey, and the next step is your choice: Your church can either use the survey as is (we will send you the link for your use) — or you can send your request for changes to [email protected]. Our staff will make the adjustments and send you a link to the revised survey.
- Some of your church members all but live on their smartphones, tablets and laptops. Surveymonkey.com allows you to email those members the link to the survey. However, other church members may prefer paper — which is no problem. Consider printing the survey and placing it in your Sunday bulletins. To collect the surveys, offer a collection bin in the narthex.
- We encourage your church to provide both email and printed methods of survey delivery during a two-week timeframe. Consider a goal of receiving responses from 50 percent of your congregation. For surveys completed on paper, a Marketing Team staff member (the coordinator or administrative assistant) should input the responses into the survey website.
- After the data has been entered into surveymonkey.com, it’s time to use the results. First, prepare a concise report that includes the research details (such as the when the data was collected and number of completed surveys), detailed findings (using visuals such as charts, graphs, and tables), and recommendations. When preparing the report, look for things that surprised you, things that concerned you, things that are different than you expected. These are the things that will inform your recommendations. Then share and present the report to your project team. It is vital that your project team uses this data to create marketing and communication strategies.
Small Group Interviews
While online and paper surveys are valuable tools for information gathering, nothing replaces face-to-face conversation. Personal anecdotes about spiritual growth speak to the heart of your church. These moments are simply too important to miss as part of your background research in Phase 1.
Here are a few tips for scheduling and conducting interviews:
- Ask the Senior Pastor to make an announcement one week ahead and the week of the interviews. This gives members advance notice and explains why the discussions are being conducted. The Senior Pastor should also state that all responses will be considered anonymous and no names will be recorded.
- Conducting small group interviews involves allowing a Marketing Team member to ask questions during a brief time on a Sunday or Wednesday. A divide-and-conquer approach would be best, with Marketing Team members splitting up to ask church members and attenders in adult Sunday School, youth groups and ministry groups about their experiences in your congregation.
- There are no expectations in terms of participation. Members are not required to answer any questions.
- The interviewer should take notes or bring someone along to help him/her faithfully document key moments.
- These interviews should be short (no more than 20 minutes), and each small group should receive the same questions. This will allow for apples-to-apples comparisons. Conducting the interviews during small group times will help participants frame their answers in the proper context.
* Check the toolbox in this section for sample interview questions.