Jump directly to the Content

Sidestepping Pitfalls in Congregational Research

Church surveys can help -- but only under certain conditions.

Scarcely a week goes by that I do not get at least one telephone call from a pastor who says, "We're going to do a congregational survey. Do you have any questionnaires you can send me?"

My standard response is to ask why the pastor wants to do the research. The replies vary:

Because I have heard you recommend it.

I have just come back from a church growth conference, and it sure sounds like a good idea.

Our attendance is way down at the Wednesday service. We need to find out how to get people to come.

We're having problems in the adult class. I need to identify the causes.

My answer to such requests often brings surprise. Invariably I say, "No, I don't have any questionnaires to send you."

My reason is simple: There is no such thing as a standard survey for churches. Some church consultants offer them, but look before you leap.

Once I was in a pastor's office, and he showed me two inches of computer print-out. "What do I do now?" he asked. He was snowed with research, because no one had bothered ...

May/June
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Why Church Secretaries Quit
Why Church Secretaries Quit
From the Magazine
I Cried Out to the Name Demons Fear Most
I Cried Out to the Name Demons Fear Most
How Jesus rescued a New Age psychic from spiritual darkness.
Editor's Pick
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
What Christians Miss When They Dismiss Imagination
Understanding God and our world needs more than bare reason and experience.
close