St. John’s United Church Joint Needs Assessment Committee 2017
Congregation Questionnaire Part 1

The call of a new minister is an important event in the life of a congregation. It is especially vital at this moment in time for St. John’s United Church as we continue a long path of discernment about how to carry our mission and vision into the future.

The Joint Needs Assessment Committee (JNAC) is tasked to assess the current needs of the congregation and the skills and strengths perceived to be of the highest priority for effective pastoral leadership moving forward. This questionnaire is designed to assist the JNAC in this task. The JNAC is seeking input from everyone affiliated with St. John’s United, whether your connection is as a member, an adherent, or a newcomer, and regardless of your current level of involvement in the church.

This is part 1 of the questionnaire.
There are four sets of questions about the work and programs of St. John’s, your perception of the church’s identity, your satisfaction with the Sunday worship experience, and your vision for pastoral leadership in the church. 

Paper copies of this survey will be available at church on Sunday October 29 and Sunday November 5, and from the office. The deadline for completion of the survey is Sunday, November 12, 2017.

Thank you for your time and co-operation. The Joint Needs Assessment Committee hopes that, in addition to assisting its work, the process of completing this questionnaire may be meaningful to you and an opportunity for reflection on your personal journey as well as our collective journey.

* 1. Section 1: The Work and Programming of St. John’s

To help the JNAC prioritize needs in the work and programs of the church, listed below are various areas of church life at St. John’s. Although it is likely that you believe all are important, please respond to each one by indicating how you feel about the emphasis St. John’s places in each area.

  Needs more emphasis Very satisfied Generally satisfied Receives too much emphasis
1. creating God-centred worship experiences
2. offering Christian Education to children/youth (e.g. Sunday School, youth group)
3. offering adult Faith Formation opportunities
4. caring for those who are sick, isolated or grieving
5. providing crisis counselling for members/adherents  
6. encouraging responsible stewardship of time, talent and treasure 
7. creating dynamic music programs to support worship, build connections and reach out to the community
8. supporting Mission & Service of the United Church
9. encouraging social action (e.g. sponsoring a refugee family)
10. providing opportunities for socialization among the congregation
11. providing a teaching site for students/interns
12. supporting community outreach (e.g. Brunswick St. Mission; Manna for Health)
13. offering worship opportunities outside Sunday morning service (e.g. Taizé Prayer)
14. fostering diversity and inclusion in the St. John's community and beyond
15.  committing to continuing education about and response to the Truth & Reconciliation Report
16. communicating the vision and mission of St. John’s in the wider community
17. supporting renewal of spiritual life and programs through the New Initiatives Fund
18. providing children/youth programming outside of Sunday service

* 2. Section 2:  Characteristics and Identity of St. John’s United

Part of the JNAC’s task is to present a current and accurate profile of the Pastoral Charge for the final JNAC Report. Through the work of the Transition Team (e.g. individual and group discussions, workshops and studies), the congregation has shared many perceptions of St. John’s. Listed below are a number of statements about the identity and character of St. John’s. Please indicate your level of agreement with each statement.

  Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree
1. the St. John’s congregation is well-informed about group and committee work 
2. important decisions about the church are made through open discussion with congregants
3. people at St. John’s are supportive of one another generally and in times of crisis
4. St. John’s encourages understanding and co-operation with other churches and denominations
5. conflict or disagreement is dealt with openly and effectively at St. John’s
6. I have a strong sense of belonging at St. John’s
7. the current morale of our congregation is high
8. people at St. John’s are encouraged to explore their personal gifts for ministry & service
9. St. John’s fulfills a distinct role in the Halifax community
10. I am excited about the future of St. John’s
11. I could readily describe the identity of St. John’s to newcomers or visitors
12. St. John’s is not afraid to take a stand on social justice issues
13. St. John’s feels like one big family
14. capable and interested people are encouraged as participants and leaders in the life of St. John’s
15. St. John’s is a welcoming community
16. St. John’s encourages a spirit of generosity

* 3. Section 3: Sunday Worship at St. John’s

Although the work of St. John’s is carried out seven days a week, Sunday worship remains the primary association with the church for many people. In identifying future roles for the St. John’s Ministry Team, it is important to know where those worshipping on Sunday would like to see the most emphasis. Please indicate how you feel about the emphasis St. John’s places on each aspect of worship listed below.

  Needs more emphasis Very satisfied Generally satisfied Receives too much emphasis
1. worship that is intellectually engaging
2. worship that is emotionally engaging
3. sensory complements to the worship setting (banners, candles, seasonal displays)
4. times of quiet, silence or meditation
5. the sacrament of communion
6. music ministry
7. innovative approaches to worship (e.g. small group discussion)        
8. use of inclusive language
9. corporate prayer read in unison
10. scripture-based sermons and reflections
11. sermons that relate scripture to modern life and faith
12. involvement of children and youth
13. technology supports in worship (e.g. order of service on screen; videos; visuals)     
14. lay participation (e.g. readers, prayers of the people)

* 4. Section 4: Pastoral Leadership

Listed below are qualities and skills generally associated with effective pastoral leadership. How important to you is each of these for an effective pastoral leader at St. John’s United Church?

  Essential Important Not very important Not at all important
1. an effective speaker/preacher
2. a strong worship leader
3. creative and cooperative worship planner
4. a helpful and compassionate counsellor
5. a strong commitment to lifelong faith formation for the congregation
6. encourages team ministry
7. supports the work of church committees
8. facilitates communication within and among Church groups and committees
9. committed to his/her personal professional development and training     
10. makes pastoral care visits to those who are sick and/or isolated
11. accepts and welcomes divergent views
12. makes pastoral visits to all members
13. a calm mediator in situations of conflict
14. imaginative and resourceful in new situations
15. respects and values tradition
16. reaches out to inactive members/adherents
17. encourages lay participation in worship planning and delivery
18. visible and active in the wider community
19. relates well to children and youth
20. creates a safe space for all to worship
21. fosters a culture of respect and empathy

* 5. Thank you for taking the time to complete Part 1 of this questionnaire. We appreciate your willingness to provide this valuable feedback to the Joint Needs Assessment Committee. While the questionnaire covered a wide range of topics, there may be areas of church life and work that you feel were overlooked. Please use the space below to let us know, or to provide any additional comments.

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