CROSSROADS survey results

The Auxano survey results are now in. Special thanks to the 117 of you who took time to carefully reflect your thoughts and intentions for a best path forward for our church family in the future.

1. How long have you been attending Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church?

 

Answer Choices

Response %

Count

Less than one year

0%

0

1-5 years

10.3%

12

6-9 years

8.5%

10

10-19 years

20.5%

24

20+ years

60.7%

71

Helpful Context for this Question

National churchgoing statistics reveal that:

 

21% have been attending 5 years or less

17% have been attending between 5-9 years

52% have been attending 10 or more years

 

 

Healthy churches are reproducing faith across generations and tenure of attendance. In established churches older than 20 years, imbalance in tenure could indicate a fledgling congregation (50% attending less than 5 years) or a stagnating congregation (50% or more attending 20+ years).

 

Nationally 52% of churchgoers have been attending their current church for 10 or more years and 24% of churchgoers have been attending their current church for 2 years or less. 1

 

Thirty-five percent have been at their church between 10 and 24 years. Twenty-seven percent have been there for 25 years or more. Twenty-one percent have been there less than five years, while 17 percent have been at the same church for between five and nine years. 2


2. How often do you attend (on campus or virtually) the Sunday morning worship services at Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church?

 

Answer Choices

Response %

Count

3-4 times a month

78.6%

92

2 times a month

5.1%

6

Monthly

4.3%

5

Quarterly

0.9%

1

Less than quarterly

11.1%

13


Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, among mainline protestants, 33% reported attending church at least once per week, and another 43% say they attend at least once per month. 24% report seldom to never attending worship services. During the COVID-19 pandemic, almost one in three adults admit not streaming an online service.

 

Survey data often reveals that the average congregant tends to overestimate their attendance frequency.

 

Once per week / at least once per month / seldom never attend 3

 

3. In which areas are you consistently and frequently involved at Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church? Choose all that apply.

 

Answer Choices

Response %

Count

Sunday school/small groups

17.1%

20

Sunday morning worship

76.1%

89

Volunteer (e.g., usher, greeter, Sunday school teacher, etc.)

43.6%

51

Leadership (e.g., committees, administrative council, staff, etc.)

41.9%

49


Nationally, 44% of churchgoers report having regular responsibilities at their church. Generally speaking, 50-60% involvement in Bible Study/Sunday School is considered normative.


 

4. Are you a member of Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church?


Answer Choices

Response %

Count

Yes

90.6%

106

No

7.7%

9

I don't know

1.7%

2


In 2019 50% of church attenders reported being members. Congregational assessments reveal a direct correlation between membership and active participation in groups, missions, volunteering, and giving. 


 

5. With whom do you feel the MOST connected at Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church? 

 

Answer Choices

Response %

Count

Members of my small group or Sunday school

29.9%

35

Friends/family who attend the church

50.4%

59

People in the ministry area in which I serve

1.7%

2

A pastor or staff member

8.5%

10

I do not feel connected to anyone

2.6%

3

I don't know

6.8%

8


Connection to other believers remains a critical factor of faith development. Three out of every four churchgoers report needing other believers (friends, family members, members of their group/class) to help them grow in their faith.

 

Three in 4 Protestant churchgoers (75%) say they need other believers to help them to grow in their walk with God, with 38% strongly agreeing.

 

 

6. Of the following options, which MOST influences your current attendance/membership in this United Methodist Church? 


Answer Choices

Response %

Count

Personal relationships or family history

38.5%

45

Clergy and staff

9.4%

11

Traditional Methodist theology and practice

21.4%

25

Progressive Methodist theology and practice

6%

7

Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church's affiliation with the United Methodist Church

12%

14

I don't know

12.8%

15


National churchgoing statistics reveal that:

  • 27% attend for reasons of theology and practice
  • 20% attend to serve in missions work 4

  

 

7. Current United Methodist policy does not allow Annual Conferences to ordain gay and lesbian persons nor allow local United Methodist churches to hold same-sex weddings. Which of the following best describes your view of the current policy? 

 

Answer Choices

Response %

Count

I strongly support the current policy

35%

41

I somewhat support the current policy

13.7%

16

I somewhat disagree with the current policy

12%

14

I strongly disagree with the current policy

31.6%

37

I haven’t decided my views on the current policy

7.7%

9


National churchgoing statistics reveal that:

  • 52% feel that their beliefs are completely aligned with their church
  • 42% feel that their beliefs are mostly aligned with their church
  • 3% or less feel out of alignment or unsure in how their beliefs align

A large differential in how the congregation describes their theological perspective as compared to the church’s staff, leadership or conference indicates the need to educate and inform members as to any changes ahead.


For the most part, churchgoers say they agree with their church’s teaching. About half (52 percent) say their beliefs are completely aligned with those of the church. Forty-two percent say their beliefs are mostly aligned. Fewer than 3 percent say their beliefs are slightly aligned, not aligned or they don’t know their church’s beliefs. 5


  

At General Conference 2022, delegates will vote on the Protocol for Reconciliation through Separation and Grace. The Protocol will provide a path for those United Methodist Conferences committed exclusively to traditional or progressive Methodist faith and practice to separate from the United Methodist Church and to affiliate with a new Methodist denomination that shares their respective views. Each local congregation could remain in connection with their Annual Conference (whether it stays in the United Methodist Church or affiliates with a new Methodist denomination), but will also have a path to self-determine denominational affiliation through a congregational vote. Conferences and churches that affiliate with a new denomination will retain their buildings and assets. Following the passage of the Protocol, the United Methodist denomination plans to change its policies to allow Annual Conferences to ordain gay and lesbian persons and to give local congregations the freedom to determine their same-sex wedding policies.

8. If the current United Methodist policy were changed to allow Annual Conferences to ordain gay or lesbian persons and local churches to hold same-sex weddings, how would you most likely respond to your local church having gay or lesbian clergy or holding same-sex weddings?

 

Answer Choices

Response %

Count

I would strongly object and would likely withdraw my support and presence if my local church had gay or lesbian clergy or same-sex weddings.

36.8%

43

I would somewhat object and might withdraw my support and presence if my local church had gay or lesbian clergy or same-sex weddings.

12%

14

I would somewhat approve and might withdraw my support and presence if my local church were not willing to have gay or lesbian clergy or same-sex weddings.

12.8%

15

I would strongly approve and would likely withdraw my support and presence if my local church were not willing to have gay or lesbian clergy or same-sex weddings.

26.5%

31

I don't know how I would respond to my local church having gay or lesbian clergy or holding same-sex weddings.

12%

14


A large percentage of your congregation feeling uninformed about any issues to stay or disaffiliate with the United Methodist Church may indicate a need for town halls, forums, and FAQ development.



 

9. Which statement BEST describes your support for the denominational

affiliation of Oak Harbor First United Methodist Church? 

 

Answer Choices

Response %

Count

Staying affiliated with the United Methodist denomination that plans to allow Annual Conferences to ordain gay or lesbian persons and to give local churches the freedom to determine whether or not to hold same-sex weddings.

30.8%

36

Disaffiliating from the United Methodist denomination to affiliate with a new traditionalist Methodist denomination that will not ordain gay or lesbian persons nor allow affiliated churches to hold same-sex weddings.

32.5%

38

Disaffiliating from the United Methodist denomination to affiliate with a new progressive Methodist denomination that will ordain gay and lesbian clergy and allow same-sex weddings in affiliated churches.

11.1%

13

Disaffiliating from the United Methodist denomination and becoming an independent congregation (no denominational affiliation).

7.7%

9

I equally support any of the above decisions.

2.6%

3

I do not know what decision I would most strongly support.

15.4%

18


About half (54%) of nationally surveyed churchgoers report that changes in church doctrine/affiliation would cause them to seriously consider leaving their church.6 Ensure that your membership understands the visionary, theological, and denominational basis for your future affiliation. Cast vision for God’s better future beyond the current social or cultural conversation and then illustrate the potential Great Commission impact of your church because of this decision.


10. What is your age?

 

Answer Choices

Response %

Count

Under 18

5.1%

6

18-24

0%

0

25-39

5.1%

6

40-49

1.7%

2

50-59

10.3%

12

60-69

21.4%

25

70+

56.4%

66

 

National churchgoing statistics indicate that:


  • 42% of Millennials (25-39 year olds) attend church
  • 54% of GenXers (40-55 year olds) attend church
  • Elders and Baby Boomers (56+ years old) comprise more than half of all church attenders (56%)

During the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • 50% of Christian Millennials report not attending online church
  • 35% of Gen X report not attending online church
  • 26% of Baby Boomers report not attending online church

When asked if they had attended online church within the past four weeks, exactly half of practicing Christian Millennials (50%) say they have not. The percentages of Gen X and Boomers who have stopped attending online services are slightly lower (35% Gen X, 26% Boomers). 


Only 42% of Millennials attend church. This is the lowest generational percentage. Traditionalists come in at 68%, which is down from 77% in 2000. Even more generation X individuals attend church, though their rate has declined to 54% from 62%. 


Elder and Boomer groups combined make up over half of the practicing Christian population in the U.S. (56%).