A pastor cannot go wrong by listening to the answers to these questions to ask your congregation. In fact, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of local ministry by processing what they reveal.
But how do you regularly ask these revealing questions? There are at least two ways:
Focus Groups: set up homogeneous groups based on demographics, psychographics, or ministry areas. Create groups of 6-10 and have a caring person lead them. You’ll get even better feedback if it’s not a paid church leader. Or hire a consultant who understands focus groups and the church.
Informal Conversation: each time any church leader has the opportunity to connect with a member, consider it an informal focus group! Get the staff to understand the importance of these questions and have a mechanism to collect the feedback from the questions to ask your congregation.
Here are the 6 revealing questions to ask your congregation regularly:
- What brought you here originally? This establishes a baseline of why people chose your church. And as you collect feedback from several people or groups, you can understand the foundation of what’s working to bring people in from the community. Master them and you’ll probably see growth!
- What’s keeping you here? These answers allow you to understand what’s currently the sticky quality of your church ministry. Make sure you continue to do these things or improve on them.
- What are we known for in the community? Who better to ask than church members from your community! This gives an idea of the church’s perception and allows you to understand what needs to be corrected or communicated differently to reinforce who you really are. It also allows you to understand how you need to be controlling beneficial language so your members can pass it along.
- Do you know why anyone is leaving? This is one of the questions to ask your congregation that will reveal what may be not working well. They shouldn’t share names because that anonymity will expose more truth. Exit interviews with parting members can also help with this eye-opening data.
- Are there any barriers to visiting us or getting connected? Exposing barriers to entry (from the member’s vantage) is the first step in eliminating them. Often, it may be difficult for a member to answer this particular question. Instead, listen for difficulties about discovering next steps, finding things on your website, or signage issues.
- If you could improve one thing, what would it be? This empowers ministry improvement. It shouldn’t be asked to stir up trouble or gossip, so request constructive solutions or ways to improve incrementally. They’ll feel like you want their opinion and it may open the doors to ask them to help!