On April 19, a little more than 30 people at St. Matthew’s filled out a survey to create a profile for our congregation. This was the first in an ongoing planning process called “Natural Church Development,” which I wrote about on April 14th. Each survey is about 90 questions each, asking for people’s personal responses and reactions to various parts of church life. It didn’t take long to input the data, and to have the first results back to us.
So now what? When the results of the survey come back, they can be overwhelming. In all there were four different guides that came back, filled with charts and text totaling just over 70 pages. While I presented a short summary when I met with the Board on April 21st, I’ll be going into more depth when I meet with them tomorrow night (May 12th).
In all, this is a good first survey. It shows that as a congregation, we are reasonably healthy, albeit with room to improve. Our greatest strength is our “Inspiring Worship Service” while our biggest challenge is “Passionate Spirituality.” The latter is not surprising, given that most “mainline” congregations find it a challenge, as we often regard faith as a private matter, and by extension interpreting the Bible is best left to professionals. The point about exploring Passionate Spirituality is not turn us into Baptists or Pentecostals, but rather to discover what Passionate Spirituality looks like at St. Matthew’s United Church.
I’ve included a copy of the NCD Summary Guide, a short 4-page document that touches on the basic findings of the survey.
In all, this is simply a first step, and this post is a short report of the beginning of our planning process. My prayer is that this will help us respond to the needs of both the congregation and the community around us. There is a lot to mine, but also a lot of things for us to act on!