3 tips for visitor surveys that work to improve a church's welcome

Feb. 12, 2008

Is your church really welcoming to new people? What do visitors think of the worship service? The preaching? The children's ministry? If only you could get into a first-time visitor's head. You can!

Interested in surveying church visitors? Church Central has gathered several sample surveys from the Web to help you put together your own survey. From simple, three-question forms, to more elaborate assessments, you'll soon have all the feedback you need to continue to shape your church into a warm and hospitable place.

What do you want to know?

Before crafting a survey, church leaders and consultants must determine what they want to know about the church and the visitors. Asking how visitor's heard about the church or why they decided to come can answer your questions about marketing and public relations, about your church's visibility, about the evangelistic efforts of the congregation. This question can also help your church determine future efforts in marketing and in ministry, designed to serve the demographic most typically represented in the guest population.

Questions about a guest's experience at the church can inform you about your facilities, your staff and members, the efficacy of your ministries, and what worship looks and feels like to new people. Many churches break these questions into categories of hospitality, worship, teaching, music, etc., to better identify what exactly did or did not resonate with guests.

Remember survey etiquette

Providing check boxes or number scales to help guests answer questions is helpful. Providing blanks for answers communicates that you value a guest's feedback as well. A good survey form contains elements of both of these. A good survey is also relatively short. No one wants to take a college prep exam on your church.

An online survey allows visitors to complete the form anytime, anywhere, anonymously. Direct guests to this page on your Web site with an e-mail, or a web address included in a welcome letter. A printed survey card can also secure feedback quickly and easily, while guests are still in your building. But remember, surveys should always be optional.

Follow-up is key

How you use the survey is as important as what you ask. Before creating a questionnaire, church consultants and leadership should determine definite purposes for the information they gather. For example, is the church interested in changing various areas of ministry to suit visitors better? Or is the church more concerned with ways to be more hospitable? Survey questions should reflect these purposes.

In addition, follow-up with visitors is a critical step in bringing them into the church again. Some surveys include a question about a possible return visit. The contact information a visitor provides on a survey should be used immediately for a welcoming letter thanking the person for attending and inviting them to return. Some churches also use the contact information to invite guests to another gathering where they can ask questions and get to know church staff or members in a more social setting.

Check out these survey examples and get to work on your own welcome:

Kailua Baptist
New Life Fellowship
Valley Family Church
Crossroads Community Church

Topics: Administration , Consulting , Discipleship , Ministry , Outreach

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