Let me start this post with a disclaimer: at the end of this post, I’m going to recommend your church consider doing a survey using the “Know Your Church” report available at Church Answers. My daily readers will know that I seldom use this site for that kind of purpose, but I happen to believe in this resource. I have used it in church consulting for more than 20 years, and I’ve seen it to be a helpful tool in evaluating a church. Here, then, are reasons to do a survey of your congregation:
- It’s good to give your church an opportunity to express their thoughts. I can tell you many stories of church members who said doing the KYC survey was the first time they felt leaders wanted to hear from them. Just offering the survey brought affirmation for leaders willing to ask for input.
- It’s good to know what your congregation thinks. The KYC report asks members to evaluate a church in the areas of worship, evangelism, discipleship, ministry, prayer, and fellowship – the six purposes of the church. Leaders need to know what members see as strong areas and weak areas.
- A survey helps the church face reality. The KYC survey is a perception survey (as are all similar surveys), but perception truly is reality as we think about where a church is. My experience is that using the KYC survey has forced churches to face the truth when they are not as healthy as they think they are—or, to rejoice over the areas where the church is strong.
- A survey helps leaders face reality. Every survey is different, but the KYC report asks questions about the preaching, worship, small groups, outreach, missions, discipleship, prayer, division, facilities, and many more things. I’ve often worked with church leaders who saw the survey results and had to admit, “Wow. I didn’t realize that. I need to work on that area.”
- The results of a survey can help leaders make strategic decisions for the future. For example, they might emphasize their strongest areas while choosing one weaker area at a time to address. They know what they need to strengthen based on what the church has said about themselves, so they develop a plan accordingly.
- Good use of a survey can help you compare opinions of different groups in the church. I’ve worked with churches who did two surveys. Some did one for the lay leaders, and one for the pastoral staff. Others did a survey of the lay leaders, followed by a survey of the older youth. Knowing where groups differ is good when you’re determining the best way to lead the church.
You may have a different survey to use, but here’s the link if you’re interested in learning more about the Know Your Church survey.
Don’t do this if you can’t stand to know the answers and don’t plan to do anything with the results once they are in hand.
Fair point, Mark.