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Previously we talked about how to create and communicate your church reopening plan including 15 Questions Your Church Reopen Plan Should Address. The first question on that list is:
What questions and concerns do the people of your church have?
It’s important to recognize that every church is unique. Some of the things that vary from church to church include demographics, location, building, the transportation people use, ministries, worship service elements, pre- and post-service activities, congregation size, resources, and culture.
Because every church is unique, you can’t simply use another church’s reopen plan.
Additionally, while church leaders often think they have their pulse on the congregation and know what their people are thinking, that impression may not be accurate. It is usually based on a handful of interactions with the people we’re closest to and isn’t necessarily a reflection of the congregation at large, especially those on the fringes.
For these reasons, we strongly recommend surveying your congregation.
Here are some recommended questions
12 Questions to Ask Your Congregation Before you Reopen
1) Since we stopped worshiping together in person, how many times have you participated in our online services?
2) Do you support the church financially? If so, how have you been giving during the pandemic? Online? Mailing a check? Not at all?
3) Are you currently connected in a small group?
4) Are you over the age of 60 or have an underlying health condition?
5) When would you personally start coming back to worship with us in person?
6) When we start gathering again person, would you most likely come the first week, wait a few weeks and then decide, wait until all social distancing guidelines have been lifted?
7) Would you prefer to start gathering physically in small groups of 10 or less people and hold off on gathering together with everyone?
8) Would you want to wear a mask?
9) Would you want everyone to be wearing a mask?
10) If you have kids, will you put them in children’s ministry?
11) If you volunteer, are you planning to continue volunteering in the same role(s) when we reopen?
12) Do you want the church to serve coffee and snacks?
And 3 bonus questions to ask your congregation…
13) What has worked well during the pandemic that you hope our church continues to do during and after we reopen?
14) Is there anything else we could do as a church to help people stay connected to God and each other as we gradually begin meeting together in person?
15) What questions and concerns do you have about reopening? What issues would you like us to address so you feel safer and more comfortable meeting in person again?
Here are a few additional tips:
- Use Google Forms. It’s one of the options with Google Drive. It’s free and is very user friendly.
- Use multiple choice questions. While some questions are best asked with an open-ended free response (Google Forms “paragraph” option) including #13-15 above, most are better asked as multiple choice questions with 3-5 options. Google Forms automatically calculates the % of respondents who select each answer, which makes the data easier to understand.
- Optional email address. Ask for people’s email addresses but make it optional. Let people know you appreciate it if they provide their email address in case you have any follow-up questions but they can be anonymous if they prefer.
- Email and/or text multiple times. Don’t expect everyone to respond immediately to the first email you send
By surveying your congregation, not only will you get a better idea of what their questions and concerns are, but are giving people the opportunity to be heard. That in and of itself is comforting.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. -Psalm 23:4
Comment and discuss… Are there any other questions you recommend churches ask their congregations? Have you surveyed your congregation? Do you plan to?