Summary Report from the Vestry on the 2015 Online Parish Survey
We received a total of 174 responses to the 2015 St. Michael’s Online Parish Survey, which represents over half of the active households in the parish. The Vestry is extremely grateful for this terrific response rate, and we sincerely thank everyone who took the time and effort to provide their thoughts and ideas.
This survey was an outgrowth of a Vestry and staff retreat. We did not want to make assumptions as to the interest of the parish, but wanted feedback on various topics. Over the coming weeks the Vestry and Clergy will be studying the survey results in detail and evaluating how we can use the information for both strategic planning and short term purposes. Please continue to provide your ideas to us! In the meantime, here is a short summary of some of the key results from the survey.
- About 58% of those responding have been coming to St. Michael’s for 10+ years.
- The largest single response to the question of what initially brought us to St. Michael’s was the location of the church (42%).
- The primary responses from the survey are from the 9:00 service at the 360 location (36%) and the 11:00 service (46%).
- The great majority of responses (89%) were from parishioners over age 40. We received very few responses from the age 25 to 40 group (11%) and even fewer from the age 18 to 25 group (<1%).
- About one-third of those responding have children under age 18, while two-thirds do not.
- Almost 82% of those responding agreed (generally or strongly) that they have a clear understanding of the mission of St. Michaels.
- About 89% of respondents felt that their values and interests are reflected in Mission Statement for St. Michael’s “to be a growing and thriving spiritual family . . . as we strive to become one body in the service of Jesus Christ.”
- 51% of respondents agreed (generally or strongly) that St. Michael’s is “on the right path to be a thriving and important Austin church 5 years from now.” Just over a quarter of respondents were neutral on this question.
- Almost 80% of those responding indicated that what they really like about worship services at St. Michael’s is the service liturgy. This is followed by the music (68%), then sermons (58%), then fellowship (52%).
- A large majority (81%) of respondents agree (generally or strongly) that worship at St. Michael’s has an impact on their daily life.
- About 60% of respondents agree (generally or strongly) that our parish ministers primarily to its own members, though we are welcoming to visitors.
- Almost 80% of respondents agree (generally or strongly) that increasing membership and attendance at worship is an important issue that needs to be addressed.
- Almost 70% of those responding believe that St. Michael’s does a good job of welcoming visitors. Another 25% were neutral on this question.
- Only 17% of respondents agree (generally or strongly) that we are doing a good enough job of increasing our membership and attendance at Sunday worship services. About 36% of those responding were neutral on this question.
- Only 11% of those responding believe that the growth of the parish should be driven by the clergy and staff, rather than the congregation.
- 42% of respondents indicated they would be personally willing to be a part of a ministry at St. Michael’s that would actively seek, add, and incorporate new members.
Ministries and Programs:
- Only 10% of respondents believed that St. Michael should continue to have a Sunday morning service in south Austin. [Said service was discontinued Oct. 25, 2015.]
- 32% of respondents believed that the current ministries and programs at St. Michael’s will attract new members to the parish. Almost 44% answered neutral on this question.
- Almost 64% agreed that our outreach ministries are a sufficient response to God’s call to St. Michael’s to serve the broader community.
- Almost 67% indicated that they (generally or strongly) agree that our fellowship programs effectively serve the needs of St. Michael’s community.
- Almost 67% of respondents believe our support ministries for St. Michael’s parishioners serve the needs of our parishioners. Almost 27% were neutral on this question.
- 87% (of those not abstaining) indicated that they generally or strongly agree that the youth and children’s programs adequately serve the needs of the parish
- About 63% of respondents agree (generally or strongly) with the overall direction of St. Michael’s.
- Almost 68% of respondents agree (generally or strongly) that the leadership of St. Michael’s listens to and considers the ideas and concerns of all parishioners.
- A large majority (81%) indicated that they know who to approach at St. Michael’s when they have ideas or concerns.
- A large majority (84%) also indicated they believe the leadership of St. Michael’s is a good steward of the church’s financial resources. An additional 14% were neutral on this question.
- 85% of respondents agreed that they were well-informed about the various St. Michael’s programs.
- A large majority (83%) also agreed that parish staff and leadership keep the parish well-informed about finances and important parish decisions.
- About 23% of respondents agreed (generally or strongly) that St. Michael’s existing electronic communication channels will attract enough new members for the church to grow over next 5 years.
- Respondents ranked the top four ways that they access information about St. Michael’s as: the e-Trumpet (53%); Sunday paper Trumpet (30%); prayer chain emails (16%); and Sunday announcements (14%).
And Finally . . .
- The two highest responses to what keeps you attending St. Michael’s are the worship services (75%) and the friendships (67%).
Demographics On Respondents for the 9:00 and 11:00 services
Among respondents who primarily attend the 9:00 service:
- There was a higher percentage of respondents who are newer parishioners (<2 years) as compared to the 11:00 service, but about the same percentage of10+ year parishioners as the 11:00 service.
- The respondents from this service were younger:
- 45% were over 55 years old
- 40% were between 40 and 55 years old
- 16% were between 25 to 40 years old
- Many more of those responding from the 9:00 service have children under 18 (47%)
- Those that attended the 9:00 service liked the service liturgy (78%), the sermons (62%), the music (62%) and the fellowship before/after service (55%).
Among respondents who primarily attend the 11:00 service:
- Over 55% of those that regularly attend the 11:00 service have been going to St. Michael’s for over 10 years.
- 67% were over 55 years old
- 20% were between 40 to 55 years old
- 8% were between 25 to 40 years old
- 25% of those responding that go to the 11:00 service have children under age of 18.
- Respondents who attend the 11:00 service liked the service liturgy (78%), the sermons (52%), the music (80%) and the fellowship before/after service (49%).