ANCHORAGE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
RESULTS OF TRANSITION TEAM'S CONGREGATIONAL SURVEY
During March, the Transition Team invited members of the Anchorage congregation to complete a written survey. Your responses have painted a portrait of the congregation’s wants, needs, and role in the community as well as opinions concerning future leadership needs. The survey responses have been conveyed to the Session.
We had hoped to conduct several in-person interviews and group discussions to further populate our data. However, due to the current situation, we have decided to scale back the scope of our process. Therefore, if you would be willing to be interviewed by conference call with two team members or join a group conversation via Zoom, please contact Peggy Hinds (502-777-2254, firstname.lastname@example.org).
We received 96 responses from 150 (+/-) households/330 (+/-) members.
On average 83% of respondents attend worship services at least 2-3 times a month, are 50 years old and older, and feel moderately good or very good about the church’s stability. Comments indicate a high level of trust in the pastor’s shepherding role and the care offered and received by the deacons and other leaders. Effective, loving shepherding of every member is the driving force of ministry at APC and is appreciated as a strength of the church.
The top 5 factors in members’ decision to join Anchorage include location, the minister, denominational ties, worship style, and friends and family connections.
The top 5 factors in members maintaining their membership include the minister, friends and family connections, worship style, location and a tie between music program and denominational ties.
Most members’ participation (41%) has remained the same; 36% have increased participation; and 23% have decreased participation. Most changes are due to time availability or a change in responsibility in the church. Comments include the fall-off of the family’s participation following confirmation. Responses indicate the top 3 areas that could increase participation: local service projects, social/fellowship opportunities, and mission trips. Comments indicate people are looking for a list of options/needs in the newsletter/bulletin or waiting to be invited. Among social issues/projects, these ranked as the top 3: Immigrant/refugee ministries, alleviating hunger, and clean water.
94% of respondents are satisfied or very satisfied with communication from the church. E-mail is the runaway preference (83%). Some cite a lack of transparency in communications from the congregation’s leadership.
89% of respondents say that the mission statement describes the congregation well or very well. Significant expressions of the mission statement include: worship (sermon, music, style of worship, worship opportunities, children’s involvement), local service projects, intergenerational opportunities, learning opportunities, youth programming, and fellowship opportunities with meals.
Areas for growth
Among the expressions of our mission statement, the congregation identifies five areas that need improvement. These include children and youth options, worship, outreach to visitors and spiritual growth of the congregation (tied), service locally, and fellowship options. To stimulate growth, respondents say that we need more youth leader volunteers, financial giving, adult Christian education leadership, and support groups.
The areas for growth correspond to the roles, responsibilities, and strengths that the congregation finds desirable in an associate pastor. The top three are preaching and worship leadership, leadership for children, youth, and their families, and interpersonal engagement.
1. Preaching and worship leadership top the list. Worship is a concern for the congregation, citing a lack of an inspirational, dynamic preacher, low worship attendance, and the fact that the church is not growing numerically. The congregation wants the associate pastor to be an inspiring, charismatic, biblically informed, and socially aware preacher. One comment recommended adding another worship service on a different day. Some asked for more enthusiasm in worship.
2. APC is an aging congregation, which many assume is a key factor in the absence of growth. The congregation wants the associate pastor to be a leader of children and youth, someone who can reach young people and young families.
3. Family and friends have been a reason to join; but we also see in the comments that for some members the close family connections sometime operate like a clique. For example, some non-Anchorage resident members report feeling like outsiders in the congregation. The congregation wants the associate pastor to be skilled in Interpersonal engagement (building strong relationships of trust and respect inside & outside the church), spiritual mentoring, and advocacy (relating the Gospel to social context, is interested in social concerns and is involved in community affairs).
Thank you for your participation in this important discernment process for our congregation.
Transition Team members:
Julie Kaebnick, Chair (502-494-3989, email@example.com);
Nathan Bayne Chris Boone
Larry Cashen Hal Miller
Claudia Robertson Katherine Robertson