I handed out a form for congregants to reply during the service. Some were not ready to hand them in yet. But of the nine I got, here is a summary. Interesting!!
Let me make an “executive summary”: Many people highlighted affirming, welcoming, friendly values, but we seem divided about whether we are doing this already. The second most common response is to be full or well-attended. Four respondents highlighted action-oriented values: generosity, compassion, caring, authenticity, committed to community. Two provided traditional theological virtues: faithful, showing Christ’s joy and acceptance. It’s interesting that we don’t use words such as holy, intelligent or thoughtful, spiritual, challenging, truthful, alternative…
I too want us to be full and well-attended, but I worry about making that a stand-alone value. I’d like to see us successful because we are being true to the way God want us to be, or at least the way we should be out of some commitment to the good.
The priorities show diversity, but just about even out. This shows a good balance! It is all to the good if some of us value worship, others fellowship and education, others service. The other thing I observe is that people have high priorities in general: way closer to 5s than 1s.
And lastly, we need ideas! I have some and will be emboldened to share them.
What words would describe this church if we became what God wants us to be? Circle any words that describe how we already are as a church.
[Underlined words are what people circled (= we are already this). Semi-colons separate individual responses]
Questioning, generous, compassionate, awake!; open, affirming, caring, friendly; welcoming, faithful, helpful, sharing; welcoming, kind, friendly, helpful, more tolerant, non-judgmental; Showing Christ’s joy and acceptance; giving, committed to community; a full church; well-attended, not fake, open to all; welcoming
How do you think we should prioritize what we do, and what we should do more of? You can indicate 1 to 5 (5 being highest priority) or just describe how important each is for the church. Or leave it blank if you have no strong sense.
[I use “/” because some people evaluated each word separately]
Fellowship, discussion, education:
5, 5, 3/2/2; 4; 3, 5, 5, 2/1/5; 4 = 36, ave 4
3, 5, 5/4, 5, 4, 5, 4, 4/3, 3 = 37, ave 4.1
Service to each other and to our neighbors and world:
4, 5, “*” [counted as 5], 5, 4, 5, 5, 5, 4 =38 ave 4.2
Do you have ideas for how to achieve these priorities?
[again, Semi-colons separate individual responses]
Listen for people needing help or attention; more community involvement; more; no idea!;