Satisfaction with Church
At times, it can seem as though making fun of church is almost a national sport. Boringly endless sermons (or maybe endlessly boring?), dull music, constantly asking for money – pastors probably know the supposed grievances by heart. There can’t be much satisfaction with church, right?
Certainly those complaints are frequently lampooned in movies, television, and more – just think of Rev. Lovejoy from The Simpsons.
So it may surprise you to learn that the vast majority of American evangelical Protestant churchgoers are actually largely satisfied with their church.
Exclusive New Research
The Congregational Scorecard: What Evangelicals Want in a Church is a new report from Grey Matter Research and Infinity Concepts. We asked over 1,000 evangelical Protestants whether they would change their church in 14 different areas:
- Amount of music
- Overall style of the music
- Overall style of the service
- Amount of political involvement/messages
- Amount of focus on social issues
- Amount of focus on evangelism
- Amount of outreach to the community
- Sermon length
- Amount of in-depth teaching
- Overall service length
- Size of the congregation
- How often donations are requested
- Level of racial/ethnic diversity
- Number of women in leadership
Ironically, three of the areas that are most often lampooned are also the three areas with the greatest amount of satisfaction: how often donations are requested (88% are fine with their church as-is), the sermon length (85%), and the overall service length (85%).
What They Would Change
Where evangelicals are most likely to wish their church could be different includes the amount of political involvement or number of political messages (68%, with 11% wishing for more and 22% wishing for less), the style of music (68%, with 15% preferring more contemporary music and 18% wanting it more traditional), the size of the congregation (67%, with 26% wanting it larger and 7% smaller), and the amount of outreach to the community (62%, with almost everyone else wanting more).
In some cases, when evangelicals wish for change they’re not in agreement about what that change should be (as in the case of nearly equal calls for more contemporary and more traditional music). The areas in which the largest proportion of evangelicals wish for a specific change in their church include 38% who want more outreach to the community, 30% who call for more in-depth teaching, 27% who want to see more focus on evangelism, 26% who wish the congregation were larger, 23% who would like more racial or ethnic diversity, 22% who would prefer less political involvement, and 20% who want more music.
The report also delves into what types of evangelicals want what types of changes, and whether what people want is always what they need from church.
Discover more in The Congregational Scorecard, a study of how evangelicals view their church, exclusively from Grey Matter and Infinity Concepts. Just e-mail your request to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you the free report.
Also think about how research like this can address the questions you have about your own organization’s target market. What are the questions that, if you had the answers, could help make you more effective in acquiring and retaining constituents? What stereotypes and assumptions are held internally that may be misinforming key choices?
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This is really interesting. And surprising!
I think it’s a good sign!
I do wonder, though, if there’s more to it. Are these respondents telling us how much they like their churches because they’re the ones who are still in their churches? Might be interesting to survey people who recently *stopped* participating to see how their sentiments differ. Just a thought.