KV: Let’s pause on this, because people like me who don’t do these assessment tools . . .
JM: People who are smart.
KV: Yeah, or people who need to depend on the wisdom of folks like you who have done these studies.
There are a bunch of assessment tools out there. Some of us have heard of the DISC assessment tool, the Enneagram is really popular right now, and so on. But you used an assessment tool called OCEAN because. . .
JM: It actually focuses on research over the years that they call The Big Five.
KV: Okay. And each letter in the word “ocean” stands for one step in the process. So walk me through what they are.
JM: The O stands for—originally it was “open to experience,” but when they did a revision to BFI 2,they changed it to open-mindedness.
KV: Oh is open-mindedness. C is?
KV: E is?
JM: It was “neuroticism,” but now they call it “negative emotionality.”
But keep in mind with each one of these, you have a continuum, right? So, you know, open-mindedness / closed-mindedness
KV: So it measures each of these different characteristics on a scale, but you were using this tool to try to assess what?
JM: Trying to assess whether there are certain personality traits or combinations of traits that played into the size of a church that one may pastor.
We focused on attendance, not membership, because there's some churches that have a high membership, very low attendance. And so we focused on attendance numbers.
KV: Gotcha. Yeah. Which is a very important distinction to make. It's a question I get a lot when I talk about ministering to small churches, they'll say, “do you mean membership or do you mean regular attendance?”
And we always focus on attendance because you can have some churches out there, like you said, you got some churches that'll have 500 people on the books and don't have 50 people on a Sunday. And you'll get others that are congregationally led where, where the membership standard is much higher and they can have 200 people on a Sunday, but only have 100 official members.
And it depends on how they view membership. So we are always talking about regular attendance on the main weekend services. Because that is a better determiner of how you pastor and the number of people whose names you need to remember, how many people are going to show up for particular events. So people who are on a membership list that don't ever show up, except for Christmas and Easter, you're not really pastoring them. And so it doesn't really register in the kind of pastor you need to be when we're talking about a size of church, typically attendance average at a weekend service.