I need your help creating a survey...

Hey WTR family,  I could use some help... 

In an attempt to stay engaged with our church congregation/culture I am developing an online survey that will give people in the congregation an opportunity to offer feedback on our church's Sunday morning worship service.  I could use your help coming up with good questions that would serve to provide us with the best information.


Here are a few basics to consider as you help me brainstorm:

-By "worship service" I mean the totality of the service...  I.e. welcome, music, announcements, message, etc.

-My church has a broad generational dynamic...  In other words there are lots of old people and lots of young people and lots of people in between.  I care about all of them.  Note, that the church (across the board) is sold out to a music model that works for us... Despite the "age gap" we're not really fighting that battle.

-The survey will be distributed randomly each week to no more then 10 people.

-The survey will have five multiple choice questions and one open comment question.


So with that said...  Let me know what you come up with.




Views: 51

Comment by Charles Wolff on March 31, 2011 at 1:01pm

Making it an online survey may somewhat affect who responds and who doesn't, but however you do it, there will be some effect.  Will it be set up so that you can track back specific answers to specific people?  Are the pastor and other staff who affect the worship service onboard?  Are they willing to try new things?


You might try to start out with some questions to tell you what questions to ask, then go for details, then go for opinion.  For example: week 1, "if I could change one thing about our worship service it would have to do with (a) order of service, (b) length of service, (c) the room / environment, (d) the themes / focus of the service."  If "order of service" is the winner, then week 2 your open ended question has to do with "what changes would you like to see in the order of service?" and if "putting announcements at the very end rather than at the start" is a frequent response, then weeks 3-5 you try to get some sense of what percentage of the congregation would like to see that change.  And if it's high enough, then you get the pastor to try that out and look for some feedback on that.  Over time the cycles will de-synchronize themselves and you'll have some of each kind of questions each week.


If you start an interaction like this, be aware that there will be some element of "why didn't they listen to my suggestion?"  At my church, we do communion every Sunday and I (and several others that I know of) would like to go back to once a month, but our pastor is dead set against that.  So if I made that suggestion on the survey and I knew that some other people had made it to, but I didn't see anything happening, we might start grumbling :-)  So you may want to consider some sort of occasional feedback in the church newsletter or something - "We had some suggestions about monthly communion, but when we asked about that as a survey question, 78% of the respondents said they liked having it every week, so we will stay with that."  And if there are a lot of non-negotiables regarding your service, then doing a survey may not be the best idea.


But, anyway... that would be my suggestion, to use the multiple choice questions to find the areas people have opinions about, the open ended question to find out what opinions are out there, and then the multiple choice questions to find out how well a potential change might go over.  And then to make sure the congregation has a sense that responding to this survey DOES have an effect...

Comment by Daniel Lyle on March 31, 2011 at 1:14pm
Thank Charlies!  Many good thoughts for us to consider as we move forward with this.  I may interact with you a little over the next few weeks.  Thanks!
Comment by Charles Wolff on April 14, 2011 at 8:13pm

Here's an article on a survey done in a Methodist Church -




Not sure if it's up your alley or not, but may give you some things to think about.

Comment by Pete Brower on April 21, 2011 at 2:09pm
I want to second what Charles said about grumbling.  We did the survey thing in our church and in hindsight it worked against us.  We did get a lot of grumbling.  In the bigger picture I think it got our congregation "me focused".  Getting them in the mindset that the purpose of church was to mold itself to fit what they wanted.  With different people all wanting different things it was impossible to make everyone 100% "me" happy and we ended up with a lot of tension within our congregation.  We now do church the way our church leadership feels led and we do keep a close eye on how engaged people are in worship.  We have casual one on one conversations periodically with certain random individuals.  But when someone gives you their opinion they expect you to listen and act on "their" input.
Comment by Stevo on April 26, 2011 at 4:01am

My thoughts are that I would never do a survey. I've sweated over the idea many times and concluded that a survey will never get to the heartbeat of the people who really have an instructive opinion. Not to mention that creating an objective and un-biased survey is a very difficult science. I would never use a survey to create actionable strategic decisions. I don't trust them in the business world and I really don't trust them when it comes to God's work.


Depending on the size of your congregation, word of mouth is most helpful. Those are my thoughts anyhow.


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