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VISION CAPTURE SURVEY RESULTS

How does it feel to be a part of an active and growing congregation? For some, it’s exciting. For others, it’s worrisome. However you may feel about being a part of the vibrant Christian community at Our Shepherd, our trending growth in attendance, increased membership and increasing financial generosity prompted our Vision Capture Survey.

Before getting into the survey results, it’s helpful to consider how truly blessed we are to be a part of a growing congregation. Researchers routinely report overall declining church attendance, a decline in mid-sized churches and declining attendance in established churches (all of these descriptions fit Our Shepherd). Yet, God is granting Our Shepherd growth!  

So, what did we learn from the Vision Capture Survey? First, the fact that 150 members contributed to our survey, reveals our members are quite vested in our church! Second, we validated and confirmed some of our key concerns moving forward. Also, when you read between the lines, there are some interesting behavior trends that don’t exactly sync up with what members stated in their responses.

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Who completed the survey?

150 members including 123 who answered every single question

60%+ were either women (way to go ladies!) and/or between the ages of 36-55

87% reported attending worship at least once a week

As many 76-85 year olds completed the survey as 0-25 year olds

 

What trends were present?

Worship-

97% of members see worship as very important

Keys to worship include content of teaching (98.5%), quality of preaching/teaching (96-97%), and a midsize worship crowd of 100-349 (89%)

Spiritual growth-

95% say children’s ministry and youth ministry are very important

84% say Bible study is very important

83% say family ministry is very important

70% say Sunday School is very important

Share Life with Our Shepherd-

How we best Share Life in Christ with others included preaching/worship (95%), school (89%), acts of service in our church or community (84%)

Keys to outreach identified were preaching/worship (97%), pastors (96%), staff (91%), inviting atmosphere (90%) and school (85%)

When asked to identify needs and challenges if worship attendance continues to grow at the same rates it has for the past three years (which would mean average weekly attendance of over 1,100), members recognized the following: increased spiritual growth ministries (91%), supplement worship ministries and communications (87%), staff (86%) and investing in pastors and member care (85%).

The “$5,000,000 Question” identified areas for investment, should Our Shepherd be blessed with a significant financial gift. Top four responses, by a wide margin included debt reduction, school, church general fund and building addition.

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There were some trends that will be pondered, prayed upon and discussed when we meet for our Leadership Summit in mid-March. Our most immediate concern is what to do with Sunday School? 70% of members see this ministry as very important, yet only 19% feel we are doing well in this area of ministry. We knew this would be a struggle when we went to a third worship service on Sunday.

How do we honor Sunday School without diminishing our worship offerings or sacrificing Sunday School for the sake of worship? 

 

Two more interesting facts have to do with proximity to church. Only 3% stated that a church location closer to home would help them get more out of their congregation. At the same time, members are nearly twice as likely to drive ten or more miles to work as church and also nearly twice as likely to live within five miles of church.

Is our members’ tendency to drive 10+ miles to work, but only five miles to church a function of jobs being elsewhere? Or, is this more significant than where we work? Do we subconsciously require a house of worship closer to home? Is this a question of convenience, proximity or pragmatism? Will our driving behaviors (versus stated attitudes) affect how we will grow as a congregation?

We are at the very beginning of considering how we will meet the opportunities God is presenting Our Shepherd. We have all been blessed in Christ Jesus. Our faith grants many earthly and eternal blessings. We share these insights with you so that you may have a better view of the views of the congregation.

If we are to do the Lord’s work well, especially as we consider how we will reach others with Christ’s love, our attitude towards others needs to reflect Christ’s attitude towards us. Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 ESV) May we consider the needs of others and the lost in our community as we look towards the future of Our Shepherd.

The prayer of your pastors and leaders is that we grow closer together through our visioning exercise. Hopefully our survey summary helps you glean survey highlights. If you’d like to see all survey results, paper copies are available to review in the church office. We encourage you to register for the Leadership Summit to participate in discussions regarding the future of Our Shepherd.

Posted by Daniel Lepley with

FULLY RELYING ON GOD

Fully Relying On God (FROG)

The Kenya Mission Team has been working on our trip to Point of Grace Academy in Kisumu, Kenya for the past six months.

We are led by Andy Mears with team members Helen Blank, Deb Brockaway, Anna Long, Caitlyn Long and Sandi Norman.  We will also be joined by The Lepley family who will be spending the month of June in Kenya.  Our planned activities include Vacation Bible School for 700+ students, raising money for a greenhouse (hopefully helping with building), visiting villages and building a mud hut for a needy family. 

Travel plans are complete, we have our flights from Chicago to Nairobi and on to Kisumu.  We are working on our plans for lessons and crafts for VBS.   We have a few more events planned to raise needed funds for the greenhouse and school curriculum.  We are also learning how to eat local foods by having our Kenyan meal with the congregation.  Each of us is working on how we are going to adjust to being in a very different environment.

You will notice that we have chosen a FROG as our symbol….our theme for our group is FULLY RELYING ON GOD (FROG).  Our team meets every month and we open with a devotion in which we learn a little more about the Scripture.  We use this time to see how and why God is sending us to Kenya.  As we look at God’s word we see that while we see many challenges and obstacles just to our travel, we must FULLY RELY ON GOD to see us through this mission. 

We thank God every day for the generous and fervent support from the congregation.  Many members have stepped up to support all our projects and even the school has raised money for the kids and their school curriculum needs.  Everyone has truly opened up their hearts and minds to our mission.  Our team is VERY GRATEFUL for the generosity of Our Shepherd as we continue to FULLY RELY ON GOD for our success.

 

Posted by Sandi Norman with

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