Faith Community Assessment Survey (March 2021)

The Faith Community Assessment tool is designed to help select an appropriate pace to set our Welcoming Journey. It can also serve as a helpful guide to your faith community's overall temperament when considering disputed subjects. There are not right or wrong answers. The “correct” answers are honest answers to accurately assess your community.


Group Scoring

About 110 Faith Assessment Surveys were mailed out to the congregation during the last week of January 2021. Thirty-eight surveys were returned, which is about typical for our church. Thank you to all those who took the time to fill them out and return them. Your participation in the life of this church is a gift to all of us.

Our overall mean total (84.6) puts us in the middle of the St. Moderatus range for pacing the Open and Affirming Discernment practice. The questions are generally scored on a scale from 1 (more cautious) to 5 (more adventurous). The scores in these types of surveys are fuzzy and subjective, so other ways of calculating an average score, besides the mean, can be useful. The median score (50% above, 50% below) was slightly higher than the mean. The mode score (most common answer) was higher still, nearing the St Adventurous pace.

Looking at the individual returns, there were 33 in St. Moderatus pace and 5 in St. Cautious pace.

The Open and Affirming Discernment team adopted a moderate pace in the beginning, somewhat in anticipation of these results. Thank you again to those who replied. We prefer to base our decisions upon congregational feedback, rather than team guesses and assumptions.

Observations about Questions/Replies

Peoples’ perceptions of our congregation, based upon their answers, are obviously varied as indicated by the high and low scores (and spread). Many questions were given both the highest and lowest scores. Note: High and low are not necessarily an indication of goodness or quality. The difference in perceptions is what stands out.

 

Five questions averaged below a score of 3 [yellow highlight in table] and five questions averaged a 4 or above [green highlight]. The remaining fifteen questions scored in the 3’s.

 

The five questions that scored the lowest related to LGBTQIA+, sexuality, and diversity. We also scored low on the percentage of members that typically attend adult educational forums.

 

Five questions had fairly close agreement in the answers, based upon the spread [blue highlight]. Interestingly, four out of those five were questions that scored 4 or above.

 

The results of two questions were somewhat surprising [orange highlight]. The questions address “our church family”, in which we take great pride. While the scores were relatively high (3.9), they are not as high as expected. Perhaps more work is needed to “draw our circle wide” and nurture our family members.


Faith Community Assessment – Answers/Results

1. Does the faith community already have a mission or welcoming statement which explicitly includes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities? 2.7
            2 – Mission or welcoming statement is not specific to particular people groups
            3 – Mission or welcoming statement welcomes “All”


2. Are your rostered leaders and/or staff in favor of explicitly welcoming and including people of all sexual orientations and gender identities? 4.2
            4 – Personally, but not publicly, in favor
            5 – Strongly and publicly in favor


3. Are you aware of parents, family members, or loved ones of LGBTQIA+ persons in the community? 3.0
            3 – Yes, and they accept that LGBTQIA+ person, but do not share that in the faith community


4. Are you aware of LGBTQIA+ persons in the faith community? 4.0
            4 – Yes, and individuals and/or couples are visible, but not active in leadership.


5. Has the faith community already done or participated in blessings of LGBTQIA+ relationships? 2.2
            2 – No, but our rostered leader participated in such a service at another faith community
            3 – No, but members did have a service which was private and not at the faith community


6. How does the faith community receive and include new people? 3.9
            3 – New members are welcomed and are actively integrated in the life of the community
            4 – Visitors of all kinds are vigorously pursued, welcomed and encouraged to join and integrate in the life of the community


7. Does the faith community welcome/include a diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities? 3.1
            1 - completely homogeneous to 5 - overwhelmingly diverse. Use 3 for not applicable, or unknown.


8. Is the faith community presently very homogeneous or quite diverse (ethnicity, class, ability, etc)? 2.5
            1 - completely homogeneous to 5 - overwhelmingly diverse. Use 3 for not applicable, or unknown.


9. How does the faith community handle change, conflict, or controversy? 3.1
            Choose from 1 - avoids conflict to 5 - faces conflict head-on and keeps on loving each other!


10. Who comes up with new ideas for ministry? 3.4
            3 – Various lay leaders, not all are elected to an office
            4 – Ideas of lay members are valued and pursued


11. Does your faith community have an openly LGBTQIA+ rostered leader? 3.5
            3 – No
            4 – Not currently but has in the past and is open to an LGBTQIA+ rostered leader in the future


12. Is the faith community educated about and currently working on other justice issues? 3.2
            3 – Yes, but only a few members are involved
            4 – Yes, and the faith community actively supports this work


13. What is the prevailing faith community's understanding of the message of scripture? 4.0
            4 – The message that God is Love


14. Is the lay leadership of the faith community predominately cis-gender male or female? 3.0
            Choose from 1 to 5, with 1 being completely cis-gender male to 5 being completely cis-gender female.
            (Cis-gender describes a person whose birth-assigned sex and gender identity are the same)


15. Does the community use inclusive language in worship or while in community with one another? 3.7
            3 – Inclusive language for human beings and God in sermons/messages
            4 – Inclusive language for human beings and God in sermons/messages, hymnody and liturgy


16. Relationships within the faith community: 3.9
            3 – Friendly within affinity groups (age, gender identity, class, race, education, sexual orientation)
            4 – Friendly across affinity group lines


17. Assess the political temperament of the faith community. 3.2
            Score from 1 completely conservative to 5 completely liberal/progressive


18. Has your faith community engaged in studies on sexuality? 2.5
            2 – Yes, and we’ll never do it again
            3 – Yes, with young adults and adult forums but only a few people participated


19. What percentage of adults who attend services/meetings typically come to an adult forum or other adult educational opportunities? 2.4
            2 – 10% to 20%
            3 – 20% to 30%


20. Is your faith community a member of a denominational region that has declared itself Welcoming? 3.7
            3 – Yes, but we never hear anything about it in the region
            4 – Yes, and the region has a committee charged with encouraging congregations to consider becoming part of the Welcoming Journey


21. Do you have a female identifying rostered leader? 4.4
            4 – Yes, as part of a multiple-rostered leader team
            5 – Yes, solo or senior rostered leader is female identifying


22. Does your town/city/state have a non-discrimination policy for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities? 3.6
            3 – No, it was brought to a vote and defeated, the faith community had mixed views
            4 – Yes, it was brought to a vote and passed, the faith community had mixed views


23. Does your rostered leader use examples including people of all sexual orientations and gender identities in sermons, messages, or communications? 3.6
            3 – Yes, without comment from the faith community
            4 – Regularly, without comment from the faith community


24. Have the youth of your faith community expressed an opinion on becoming Welcoming? 3.4
            3 – Yes, their view is positive, but the adults of the faith community have mixed views of this
            4 – Yes, their view is positive and the adults are listening


25. Size/type of faith community? 4.6
            4 – Pastoral faith community with average attendance of 76-199
            5 – Family-sized faith community with average attendance of 75 or less