Congregation Census


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The slides for my presentation on the Congregation Census at this year's General Assembly of Unitarian Universalists in Portland, Oregon.

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Congregation Census

  1. 1. Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? Mystery, mystery, life is a riddle and a mystery.
  2. 2. Life is a Riddle and a mystery.
  3. 3. Who we are shouldn’t be!
  4. 4. Mothers of courage.
  5. 5. Fathers of time.
  6. 6. Daughters of dust.
  7. 7. Sons of great vision.
  8. 8. Sisters of mercy.
  9. 9. Brothers of love.
  10. 10. Lovers of life.
  11. 11. The builders of nations.
  12. 12. Seekers of truth.
  13. 13. Keepers of faith.
  14. 14. Makers of peace.
  15. 15. The wisdom of ages .
  16. 16. Our grandmothers’ prayers.
  17. 17. Our grandfathers’ dreamings.
  18. 18. The breath of our ancestors.
  19. 19. We Know Who We Are…
  20. 20. What do we need?
  21. 21. Congregation Census Providing Insight & Tools for Congregational Life
  22. 22. What is the Church Census? <ul><li>A survey that gives a snapshot of church life. </li></ul><ul><li>A way to accurately learn about church families. </li></ul><ul><li>Like the U.S. Census, it reveals demographics. </li></ul><ul><li>BEYOND the U.S. Census, it captures: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenges & stressors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Faith experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How the church can help families </li></ul></ul>
  23. 23. How the Church Census is Research-Based <ul><li>Based on scientific models and concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Field-tested </li></ul><ul><li>Used in small, medium & large churches </li></ul><ul><li>Used by several different denominations, as well as non-denominations </li></ul><ul><li>Used by churches with different ethnic and socioeconomic profiles </li></ul>
  24. 24. Testimonies about Strategic Planning <ul><li>&quot;Developed a task force to minister to families.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;…using it as part of long range planning.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Incorporated into visioning sessions.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;More intentionality with families.&quot; </li></ul>
  25. 25. Testimonies about Programmatic Changes <ul><li>&quot;Have developed more family-based ministry instead of youth programs…&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Now have an older adult ministry.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Have had a series on family relations, from Violence to Wholeness series, and one on How We Treat Each Other .&quot; </li></ul>
  26. 26. Testimonies (cont.) <ul><li>&quot;…seminars on financial issues.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Month long emphasis of some of the categories pulled out – worshipping together, learning, serving, playing.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Looking at work, faith, and family issues…&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;Looking at…lack of serving that the family does together – looking for a structure for that to happen.&quot; </li></ul>
  27. 27. It’s about families…
  28. 28. How well do you know the families in your congregation? <ul><li>What kinds of struggles and stresses do they face? </li></ul><ul><li>How is faith communicated or expressed at home? </li></ul><ul><li>How do they handle conflict and solve problems? </li></ul>
  29. 29. How effective is your current family ministry plan? <ul><li>Are you helping families become strong and resilient for facing the challenges and crises of life? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you nurturing the spiritual growth within the families of your church? </li></ul><ul><li>Are you utilizing ministry plans that are appropriate for the needs of your congregation's families? </li></ul>
  30. 30. What will I learn about my congregation? <ul><li>Demographics </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Different family processes (e.g., family time). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Different family structures (e.g., stepfamilies). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Challenges & Stressors : The struggles families face (e.g., financial, parent-child, marital, job). </li></ul><ul><li>Faith experiences : How families live out their faith individually and with each other (e.g., meditation/prayer, worship, fellowship, service). </li></ul><ul><li>How your church can help : Ways your church can meet felt needs & wants of families. </li></ul>
  31. 31. How does the Church Census work? <ul><li>5-page survey -- 20 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>It’s confidential </li></ul><ul><li>Administered by trained consultant </li></ul><ul><li>During a time that captures cross-section of church (e.g., worship, Sunday school, event) </li></ul><ul><li>Surveys mailed to Baylor University -- statistically analyzed </li></ul><ul><li>Church receives results within 30 days </li></ul>
  32. 32. What will the results look like? <ul><li>Topics </li></ul><ul><li>Demographics </li></ul><ul><li>Strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Stressors & challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Faith experiences </li></ul><ul><li>How the church can help </li></ul><ul><li>Format </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-color Graphs (e.g., pie charts & bar graphs) </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to read Tables that describe graphs </li></ul>
  33. 33. Who should participate in the Church Census? <ul><li>Youth and adults </li></ul><ul><li>Single and married </li></ul><ul><li>Members and attenders </li></ul><ul><li>EVERYONE! </li></ul><ul><li>Age 12 and up complete survey </li></ul><ul><li>Age 11 and younger draw a picture of family and church </li></ul>
  34. 34. Will the Church Census tell my church how to minister with families? <ul><li>The Census is descriptive, not prescriptive. </li></ul><ul><li>Your church decides action steps by matching the results with your ministry goals. </li></ul><ul><li>You also have access to a consultant for guidance in applying results. </li></ul>
  35. 35. When is a good time to do the Church Census? <ul><li>If you have not surveyed your church in the past year or two. </li></ul><ul><li>If your membership is significantly increasing/decreasing. </li></ul><ul><li>If you have had a change in leadership. </li></ul><ul><li>If you are a new church. </li></ul><ul><li>When it is convenient for the church (e.g., spring/fall; holiday/non-holiday). </li></ul>
  36. 36. The Congregation Census
  37. 37. About Us
  38. 38. About Us
  39. 39. Daily Life Together
  40. 40. Family Stress
  41. 41. Living Our Faith
  42. 42. How the Congregation Can Help
  43. 43. Additional Questions
  44. 44. Congregation Census Unitarian Universalist Society of East Cupcake June 21, 2007
  45. 45. What Families Say They Need <ul><li>Issues of racism, classism. Better interaction among all ages; de facto segregation by age here is causing some problems, such as exclusion of teens from adult activities </li></ul><ul><li>Lesbian/gay family events </li></ul><ul><li>Expanding the definition of and tolerance for families </li></ul><ul><li>How to relax and have fun together, how to be in community together, how to embrace our differences lovingly </li></ul>
  46. 46. What Families Say They Need <ul><li>Prioritizing </li></ul><ul><li>Activities that promote unity and friendship and personal growth </li></ul><ul><li>Personal spiritual rituals, family service opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>Working on environmental issues as families </li></ul><ul><li>Stressing the importance of making and growing family/marriage/spouse-type relationships </li></ul>
  47. 47. What Families Say They Need <ul><li>More activities for older, single adults </li></ul><ul><li>Get families together one Sunday night a month for teens to engage a helpful activity </li></ul><ul><li>Aging parents care </li></ul><ul><li>Parenting covenant group </li></ul><ul><li>Reconciliation with adult children and past hurts </li></ul>
  48. 48. Congregation Census Results <ul><li>There were 143 respondents representing 113 families who completed surveys in November 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>The 2007 UUA Directory list the UUSEC membership as 298 with 149 children enrolled in Church School </li></ul>
  49. 49. Who We Are <ul><li>Almost two-thirds (63%) of the families in this congregation are married couples and their children </li></ul><ul><li>With 42.5% consisting of first-time marriages </li></ul><ul><li>Another 18% in blending families </li></ul><ul><li>And almost 3% separated </li></ul>
  50. 50. Who We Are <ul><li>About 29% are single adult families—either never married, divorced, or widowed </li></ul><ul><li>Like most American congregations, married families are overrepresented when compared with the general U.S. population </li></ul>
  51. 51. Who We Are <ul><li>Almost 25% of families have been married or remarried more than 30 years </li></ul><ul><li>Another 28% of couples have been together between 20-29 years </li></ul><ul><li>Almost 30% of married couples are between 40-59 years and 21% are older adults </li></ul>
  52. 52. Who We Are <ul><li>More than half (54%) of the families do not have children living in the home </li></ul><ul><li>Of those with children, 11 have preschoolers </li></ul><ul><li>42 have school-age children </li></ul><ul><li>19 have teenagers </li></ul><ul><li>4 have young adults (ages 19-21) </li></ul>
  53. 53. Who We Are <ul><li>Families in this congregation are almost all Anglo-American </li></ul><ul><li>About 10% of families are ethnically diverse, equally distributed across several racial/ethnic identities </li></ul><ul><li>Anglo-American and: Native American; African American; Hispanic; Asian; and Other Ethnicity </li></ul>
  54. 54. Who We Are <ul><li>A very highly educated congregation, with more than 75% possessing college and graduate degrees </li></ul><ul><li>Ten percent of families have incomes of more than $150,000 </li></ul><ul><li>The rest of the congregation has a fairly “normal” distribution of incomes from less than $15,000 to a median of $60,000-$74,999 </li></ul>
  55. 55. Who We Are <ul><li>Like most American congregations, there are more women (60%) than men </li></ul><ul><li>(According to the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, the first major challenge to growth that U.S. congregations face is fewer men than women) </li></ul>
  56. 56. Connection to the Congregation <ul><li>The congregation consists of persons who have been attending for more than 25 years (18%), yet almost half of the congregation has been attending less than 10 years (49%), suggesting a healthy mix of growth with some stability </li></ul>
  57. 57. Connection to the Congregation <ul><li>The length of time attending the church seems fairly uniform over the past 30 years, indicating no great crises or surges in church growth </li></ul><ul><li>The majority of members live within 10 minutes of the church </li></ul>
  58. 58. Connection to the Congregation <ul><li>10 families report that they have members attending other congregations </li></ul><ul><li>23 that they have family members not connected to any congregation </li></ul><ul><li>Another 28 respondents reported that they live alone </li></ul>Although many families attend this congregation together:
  59. 59. Time Together <ul><li>Families with children report that they have significant amounts of time together on a daily basis, with more than 82% reporting three or more hours a day, and 32% more than five hours a day (higher than the national response) </li></ul>
  60. 60. Strengths and Challenges <ul><li>The families in this congregation are strong—they are proud of their families and they can depend on one another </li></ul><ul><li>Most feel well connected to their communities (i.e., “If we moved, we’d be missed”) </li></ul><ul><li>They know how to handle conflict without hurting one another </li></ul>
  61. 61. Strengths and Challenges <ul><li>They feel challenged, though, to find ways to serve their communities together as families </li></ul><ul><li>They have trouble sharing chores and spending time with friends and neighbors </li></ul><ul><li>Some families also struggle with seeking outside help </li></ul>
  62. 62. Interpersonal Relationship Stress <ul><li>Depression/emotional problems </li></ul><ul><li>Serious illness or disability </li></ul><ul><li>Problems balancing work and family </li></ul><ul><li>Death of a family or close friend </li></ul><ul><li>Financial strain </li></ul><ul><li>Job difficulty </li></ul><ul><li>Caring for sick/disabled family </li></ul>
  63. 63. Living Our Faith <ul><li>Provide hospitality </li></ul><ul><li>Give money to the church </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss their deepest thoughts </li></ul><ul><li>Take time to help others </li></ul><ul><li>Accept gifts and care gratefully </li></ul>Individuals report that daily or weekly they
  64. 64. Living Our Faith <ul><li>Engaging in spiritual practices </li></ul><ul><li>Admitting our faults </li></ul><ul><li>Helping our community </li></ul>Least frequent individual faith practices include For the most part, these patterns hold for families as well
  65. 65. How the Church Can Help <ul><li>Families most often asked for help in understanding personality differences </li></ul><ul><li>They also ask for help with </li></ul><ul><li>preparing for marriage </li></ul><ul><li>relating to roommates and siblings </li></ul><ul><li>handling conflict and anger </li></ul><ul><li>and guiding children and teens in learning about sexuality </li></ul>
  66. 66. What does the Church Census cost? <ul><li>$600 flat fee plus $1.00/survey. For a church of 150, the cost is $750. </li></ul><ul><li>This is recovery cost ; we make NO profit. </li></ul><ul><li>Plus consultant fee in some cases. </li></ul>
  67. 67. We want to participate: What’s our next step? <ul><li>Contact Phillip Lund or Jennifer Nichols-Payne </li></ul><ul><li>Call 612-230-3274 or 817-874-4895 </li></ul><ul><li>Email or </li></ul>