Michael Leuchtenberger

Ministry Musings

October 2017

Last March, we circulated our first annual Ends Survey. Ends are statements that talk about the impact we want to see as a result of our ministry together. These ends were adopted by the Board of Trustees with broad-based input from the congregation a number of years ago. For the past few months, the board and I have been reviewing the results of the survey. Starting this month, we will be presenting highlights of our learnings from the survey in Par - ish Notes. Please read on for the first installment.

Demographics
A remarkable total of 181 people participated in the survey. Thank you! About 86 percent of the respondents identified as members, 8% as friends, and 5% as visitors. 43 percent were over 65 years of age, 45 percent were 45-65 years old, and 11 percent were younger than 45 years. About half the responses were from people with ten years or less of church affiliation or membership, while a quarter each had affiliation of 11 to 25 years and over 25 years respectively. Sixty percent identified as female and 40% as male. The way we asked for fam - ily status turned out to be unclear for some, but here are the results: Single (20%), Married/Partnered – No Children Participating at Church (51%), Family with Children Participating at Church (19%), Other (10%).

End #1 Results
Our first set of questions was focused on understanding how well we are doing with the ‘end' that states: “Our congregants create and experience authentic connection.” The graph below shows the results to the question: On a scale of 1 (low) through 10 (high), how authentic would you rate the connections you have made at church relative to other connections elsewhere in your life?

The results to this question followed a pattern we observed for all responses throughout the survey. Each question had at least some folks who rated their experience as very low (“1” or “2”) while there were others who felt the exact opposite (“9” or “10”). And lots of people identified in between. What’s interesting to me about the results in the graph is that half of our congregants feel that connections made here at church are noticeably (“7” or above) more authentic then elsewhere in their lives. A quarter rate their connections as a lot more authentic (“9” or “10”) and 75 percent of you feel that the connections at church are at least as authentic (“5” or above) as elsewhere.

The average response for members was 7.3 while for visitors it was 5.9 – in line with what we would expect. The average for families with participating kids was an encouraging 7.5, the highest of any family status group. Gender did not play a role while the 45 to 64 age group rated highest at 7.4 and the under 45 age group lowest at 6.3.

Conclusions
Of course, we would love to see everyone rate their experience at church as a “9” or “10.” Overall, however, the Board and I feel that the results to this question (and the other questions related to the same end) suggest that congregants are doing okay creating and experiencing authentic connection. We need to continue to pay attention to this area of ministry yet, relative to other areas, there is no mandate to significantly reallocate resources. We look forward to seeing how your responses will change over time.
Grateful for the many moments of authentic connection I get to witness each week.