Survey of Hillsdale UMC


Congregational Survey

March of 2018

This year’s congregational survey was filled out by less people than before, but we can still hear a clear message from it: people want variety in worship and there continues to be a pull in our congregation in two different directions - traditional and contemporary.

When looking at whether people are inspired by our worship service the vast majority said yes, at about 70%, but the rest said they are only “sometimes” inspired. No one said they were not inspired by our worship.

When we looked at the overall worship service people scored most areas high, although the bulletin, sound quality, video projection, the liturgy and song selection all need improvement. Over 70% of people surveyed said they want variety in worship (different songs on different instruments). While 28% said they want modern worship, 32% said they want no variety or very little variety (essentially hymns on the organ).[1] 

Of the different ministry opportunities available to our church, the majority (56%) said they were most interested in purchasing a van that could be used during the week by the Seniors in the Hillsdale House and on the weekend and for missions trips by the Church.  Another 44% were interested in launching a new contemporary worship service and willing to volunteer time and talent for it.  Also 32% were interested in making a connection with the George White Middle School across the street from the church. There seem to be many ripe opportunities for our church.

In terms of the overall health of our church people said the most important thing our church needs is for people to go, tell and invite others to our church. Next was for our church to be hospitable to our guests when they are here!  Next people said a focus on children and youth was important and after that for our congregation to continue to grow spiritually. 

There were a few additional comments. One person asked about doing a hymn sing, which I plan to bring back this summer.  A few others asked about my robe. I do not wear a robe outside of worship, and, at the choir’s request, no one wears a robe during the summer.  But the comment did help me make an adjustment to the timing of when I put on a robe, so thank you to our commenters!

With these survey results I hope to do a few things in the near future. One is launch a contemporary worship service. Not only does a third of our church want more contemporary worship, half of our broader community wants it as well. If we have a space for more contemporary worship that will also allow us to make our 10am service a little more traditional as well.  A second thing I plan to do is inquire with the Hillsdale House about jointly purchasing a van.  It seems like a mutually beneficial item, so I will inquire and keep the church council informed of my progress.  We also see that the congregation feels that we have a good thing going and that we need to invite more people!  We are making plans to reach 50,000 people by the end of the year, and you can play a big role in that. Many of the people that are currently in our church are there because someone invited them.  All it takes to get others here is one simple, little sentence, “Hey, do you want to go to church with me?”  Let’s see where that takes us as we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!

For those that left their name in the survey, I will ask them about the worship items that did not score favorably.  I also plan to look at the self-assessed spiritual disciplines of the church. Now that we’ve been asking about it for a few years, we can look at changes over the years and see if we are growing in that area.  I’ll review that information at a later date and bring it before the church council.

If you have any thoughts or other questions regarding the survey, don’t hesitate to ask. The point is to help us grow as a church, to offer opportunities to all people seeking to know God, advance God’s kingdom and do God’s will by following Jesus Christ.  When we worship, do missions and join small groups we are headed in the right direction as we become disciples of Christ and help others do the same. I hope you’ll join me in this quest. God bless!


In Christ,
Pastor Brian Neville


[1] On some questions people could select more than one answer so not all responses add up to 100%

Hillsdale UMC

The Hillsdale United Methodist Church is a faith community, offering opportunities to all people seeking to know God, advance God's kingdom, and do God's will, by following Jesus Christ.