Saturday, April 29, 2006

Survey Comments

I have spent quite a bit of time the past couple of days going over the 32 pages of comments from the congregational survey. I have to admit to a whole range of emotions as I read through the comments for the first time, but in subsequent readings I was able to be a little bit more objective. Some observations...
  1. The need to address youth and children's programs was the most prevalent theme throughout the comments.
  2. Roughly even was the number of comments indicating a desire to return to our traditional roots and the number of comments indicating a perception that we are currently too traditional to effectively reach out to the unchurched in our community.
  3. There were a number of comments expressing concern with the low numbers within the 25-40 age range - the proponents of a more traditional approach and the proponents of becoming less traditional both expressed the belief that the approach they favor would help attract this demographic.
  4. The number of comments regarding traditional vs contemporary worship styles was roughly even for both points of view, and while those were some of the more evocative comments they were relatively few when compared to the total number of comments.
  5. There were some comments that seemed deliberately hurtful and some that were harsh towards some individuals.

I believe that many will feel some sense of hurt or disappointment when they read through the comments. I believe that the hurtful comments came from people who are themselves hurting and perhaps feeling a sense of abandonment of cherished ideals. I hope that some of the comments were not made simply out of meanness. I pray for healing for those who hurt badly enough to be hurtful. I pray for healing for those who are hurt by them. And I pray for understanding, acceptance, and a genuine love for each other within our congregation.

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