We’re swamped with data!
Thank you again to all of you who filled out our congregational survey. We — along with our assistants (Terry Matula, Paul Patterson, and Holly Cooper) — have been hard at work analyzing the data and trying to figure out what it all means! In this blog post, we’d like to share with you some of the key findings. The full results are available here (pdf, 4MB). Please note that to protect respondents’ anonymity, we have removed open-ended and write-in responses from this version. Also, remember that, while 136 people filled out the survey, a number of people opted not to answer some questions. As a result, all of the statistics below are based simply on the people who chose to answer that question.
The results of the survey can be broken down into seven major categories: Participation in the Life of the Church, Our Feelings About Wildflower Generally, Our Unitarian Universalist Identity, Our Spiritual Lives and Practices, Our Involvement and Feelings Around our Anti-Racism Work, Our Feelings About the Minister’s Role, and Demographics. Below are the highlights from each of those categories.
Participation in the Life of the Church
- The vast majority of us — 86% — attend the Sunday worship service at least monthly, and 92% attend our after-church Fellowship Hour at least occasionally. Most of us — 69% — have attended Board meetings and congregational meetings, and most of us — 65%– have attended a social justice or climate justice activity or event.
- Attendance at our other offerings has been fewer in numbers but still significant. Fifty-five percent of us have attended intergenerational activities, such as game nights and song circles. A little over half of us have attended an adult religious education class at least once, and 40% of us have participated in Connection Circles or other small-group ministries. And almost a third of us have participated in either the choir or other music offerings during the worship services.
- Most of us have also volunteered at the church in some respect: 65% serve as a Sunday volunteer (sanctuary transitions, sound tech support, usher, greeter, welcome table, hospitality, counting the offering) at least a few times a year, and 64% serve on a committee, team, or task force at least occasionally. Further, 31% have been a lay worship leader.
- Finally, it was no surprise that very few people have participated in our Young Adult Group (only 8%) and our youth ministry (14%), since both of those programs have been sporadic over the years. We’re excited to finally be getting both programs off the ground and look for more participation in both in the coming years!
Our Feelings About Wildflower Generally
- There were a lot of positive feelings about the church in general. For a great many of us, our favorite thing about Wildflower is its friendliness and welcoming attitude. We love the people and the community!
- Additionally, most of us feel that the congregation is generally open to change, is flexible enough to implement new ideas easily, and that we do a good job of having difficult conversations and staying in relationship.
- Most of us also felt that Wildflower focuses on its mission and the greater good, rather than the strong preference of some individuals, and that our mission and ministry continue to adapt to changing conditions in the world.
- And, most of us felt that Wildflower has a core group of leaders able to lead change in a non-anxious way, and that there is a high level of trust in our leadership.
- However, the majority of us do have some concerns about the church’s financial sustainability and believe that increasing membership should continue to be a focus.
Our Unitarian Universalist Identity
- In terms of our Unitarian Universalist identity, we feel most U.U., and we’re given concrete tools to live a dynamic U.U. life, during the Sunday worship service and when we serve as a lay worship leader or other Sunday volunteer.
- Those same three answers — the worship service, serving as a lay worship leader, and serving as another type of Sunday volunteer — are also the things that most inspire us to stretch and grow, give us the deepest sense of belonging, and are where we experience the most transcendence.
- In terms of broader U.U. offerings, 31% of us have attended regional U.U. offerings such as retreats and workshops, and 24% of us have attended General Assembly.
Our Spiritual Lives and Practices
– Most of us — 74% — rated our spiritual lives a 3 or a 4 on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “Spirituality is not important to me” and 5 being “Spirituality is integrated into all I do.”
– Half of us have a regular spiritual practice or a routine centered on personal growth.
Our Involvement and Feelings Around our Anti-Racism Work
– Given the amount of time and energy that Wildflower has put into becoming an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, multicultural congregation, we asked you a number of questions around this work. We learned that just over half of us — 54% — have participated in anti-racism and anti-oppression workshops and initiatives.
– Our feelings about that work were overwhelmingly positive. Seventy-one percent felt that it was important or very important that we continue this work.
– A number of folks also had suggestions on how to change or improve that work, and that information will be forwarded to the Board for its review.
Our Feelings About the Minister’s Role
– Our feelings about the minister’s role at Wildflower were quite consistent. In terms of what is most important to each of us on a personal level, as well as what we felt was most important to the congregation as a whole, we prioritized presenting inspiring and challenging Sunday services, the pastoral role (providing pastoral care and by example showing us how to care for one another), leading the overall ministry, fostering a sense of community, the prophetic role (helping us imagine our future and inspiring us), and encouraging and supporting social justice programs.
– When looking at which ministerial roles would have the biggest impact on the next generation, we added “supporting families and multi-generational ministries” to the top of that list.
– In terms of demographics, 79% of those who completed the survey were church members, and 29% have attended Wildflower for over 11 years, while 22% have attended for less than a year.
– Over half — 51% — of the people who answered the survey were age 60 and up, while 38% were between 30 and 50 years old. Only 6% were aged 18 to 29.
– Racially, our church appears to be 87% white, 4% Latinx, 3% multi-racial, 2% Asian, and 1% Black. One person identified as Middle Eastern. Almost 20% of us are part of a multi-racial family.
– Regarding gender, we are 57% female, 29% male, 7% gender fluid, 2% transgender, and 2% agender. Additionally, two people identified as non-binary.
– Our sexual orientation is 69% heterosexual, 11% bisexual, 7% pansexual, 4% asexual, 3% lesbian, and 1% gay. – Fifty percent of us are married, and 21% of us live with one or more disabilities. Twenty-five percent of us have children under the age of 18, and 23% have children participating in our children’s religious education program.