Survey says: Questionnaires strengthen ministry
The resumption of a Wednesday evening service for the Radiate high school ministry was among the results of the most comprehensive surveying to date of Triad Baptist members.
Begun in the winter and completed in the spring, five separate surveys focused on the traditional and contemporary worship services, Radiate high school ministry, The Crossing middle school ministry, and Kids Street children’s ministry.
Pastor Rob Decker says the idea for the survey grew out of an article he had read in a leadership journal about an easy way to identify strengths and weaknesses:
- What’s right? (Optimize this.)
- What’s wrong? (Change this.)
- What’s confused? (Clarify this.)
- What’s missing (Add this.)
Each staffer determined questions for their survey, working with Pastor Rob and Creative Communications Director Jeremy Chandler.
“I decided to apply that to the church,” Pastor Rob said. “We received some very helpful feedback that we’ve implemented and, in my meetings with staff, allowed me to work with them to begin initiatives to address some of the areas as well as share positive comments.”
High School Pastor Jared Hoots says the timing of the survey for his ministry was particularly helpful since it allowed him to gauge the impact of such structural changes made in the fall as combining the 9th and 12th grades into one Sunday School class, moving from a separate Wednesday night teen service to joining the Wednesday night worship, and using text messaging as his main communication with students and parents.
As a result of the survey, Hoots decided to go back to a Wednesday night service just for his teens — a move the ministry made in May.
“I feel like we had a great response with about 40 completed surveys representing parents, leaders and student participation,” he said. “The survey was been very helpful to me as the leader of the high school ministry. Knowing exactly what the people within the reach of our ministry are thinking helps me objectively evaluate our methods to see where we can improve.
“I think the most helpful information that we received was about the Wednesday night format. Parents and students loved having a separate service for the high school teens on Wednesdays and said they would love to see it brought back. We also had a lot of positive feedback regarding our methods of communication. People are very pleased with the text messaging service and they feel like we communicate an adequate, but not overwhelming amount of information.”
Middle School Pastor Toby Pegram said the 32 completed surveys he received showed high marks for the ministry’s number and quality of volunteers and relationships with students.
“Parents like that so many people really care for their student,” he said, noting the main area of improvement identified was additional communications, particularly about upcoming activities. This is an area that I know we need to do a better job of and they gave us some really good ideas on how to improve.”
For Kids Street Children’s Ministry, Assistant Director Austin Needham says its 57 surveys showed high overall satisfaction. Some of the suggestions received included ways to further speed up the Checkpoint Security System registration process, and feature more activities for the entire family.
“All of the positive affirmation received from the surveys was very encouraging and all of the ideas to further enhance the Kids Street Children’s Ministry were very much appreciated,” Needham said. “We feel honored to be entrusted by God with the responsibility of helping develop a growing group of young believers.”
Traditional and contemporary service feedback
Worship Director Scott Compton says the survey focusing on the traditional worship service showed broad support for the current format among the 108 surveys completed.
“Our goal was to determine the effectiveness of the service and get some general feedback and on the key question, ‘What is your current satisfaction with the worship service?’ 58 percent were very satisfied and 33 percent somewhat satisfied for 91 percent.”
The survey about the contemporary worship service was conducted before Braden McKinley became its worship director but he’s since pored over the results which helped with his onboarding in the role.
While some members had suggestions about lighting and other elements, McKinley said most of the 152 who completed surveys found little reason to change elements of the church’s fastest-growing service.
“To summarize what I consider the most important finding, the vast majority felt that the Gospel, God's word and the key beliefs and teaching of the faith were very prominent in both preaching and music in our contemporary service,” McKinley said.
High percentages did not just agree with but strongly agreed with several key statements, including:
- 68% strongly felt that the Gospel was clearly communicated on a regular basis.
- 82% strongly felt God’s word was central in our worship service each week.
- 78% strongly felt the preaching was consistently accurate week-to- week.
- 79% strongly felt that the worship songs were rich in theological depth and accuracy.
While pleased with the response, Pastor Rob said Triad would probably not survey members every year but conduct them every three to five years or use to focus on specific areas.
One he particularly has his eye on is the contemporary worship service attendance.
“We are over 80 percent attendance in our early service and it will not be long until we have to address the issue of growth there,” Pastor Rob said. “For the overflow to sit in the bleachers is a nice relief but, long-term, I doubt someone will do that year after year. Another area I think surveys could help us with is the development of new initiatives that we’re in the early stages of discussing as a leadership and staff.”
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