Link to preparatory presentation of 29 September

On Sunday, October 6, 2002, the West-Ark congregation filled out a Congregational Needs Analysis survey consisting of twenty-five questions. It was presented in a simple format that was easily completed. All adult members were requested to complete the analysis during the morning assembly in the time typically dedicated to a sermon. Provisions were made for those who wanted additional time. Provisions were also made for members not present that morning. Teens took the survey earlier in the week so they could assist in the Sunday morning process. There were four hundred and ninety-nine members who completed and turned in a survey form.

After the congregation sang praises and took communion on Sunday morning [November 17], Ron Lenderman (an elder) informally interviewed Brad Pistole and David Chadwell (two of the ministers on staff) in regard to the information collected through the analysis. The interview began by each of the three making a brief statement, then Ron asked Brad and David three questions. All three men responded to the fourth question.

The four questions were these:

  1. Why are we doing this?

  2. What did you learn that supported what you already knew?

  3. What are some things in the survey that surprised you?

  4. Where do we go from here?

By better understanding the needs and challenges spiritually confronting members of all age groups and in all situations, the elders hope to stimulate the type of congregational environment that encourages everyone's spiritual growth and development.

After this interview, Brad Pistole encouraged people to respond to Jesus Christ.

Everyone could obtain [that morning and below] a printed analysis of the Congregational Needs Survey. Any member could obtain a complete account of the "raw numbers" by contacting the office.

Ron Lenderman, David Chadwell, Brad Pistole

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Report, 17 November 2002

Congregational Needs Analysis Results
(October 2002)

  1. 499 members filled out the survey.
      (458 adults and 41 teens)
      (209 males and 290 females)

  2. Some facts based on age:
    1. 32% of these members are in the teen to 39 age group
    2. About 50% of these members are in the 40-69 age bracket
    3. 18% of these members are in the 70 and above category

  3. Some facts about education:
    1. 299 people have less than a college degree
    2. 200 people have college degrees (101 at the post-grad level)

  4. Occupations:
    1. 40% of those currently employed fall into the "professional or management" field
    2. Approximately 20% of our congregation is retired
    3. Approximately 12% of our congregation is currently unemployed
      (This percentage does not include teens - it is based on adults only)

  5. Some facts about our working situations:
    1. Of those who work, 45% work up to 40 hours per week
    2. 55% of our members currently work more than 40 hours a week

  6. Current marital status:
    1. 347 people (70%) are currently married (34 of which have been divorced and are remarried; 7 have been widowed and remarried)
    2. 61 people (16% of members who have been married before) have experienced divorce (34 of which are remarried)
    3. 5 members are currently separated from their spouse
    4. 8 % of our congregation is currently a widow/er

  7. Years of marriage:
    1. 11% of those married have been married 5 years or less
    2. 33% have been married for 6-20 years
    3. 56% have been married for more than 20 years

  8. Marital satisfaction:
    1. 77% of those married expressed their marriage was "better than they ever dreamed or meeting their expectation"
    2. 23% of those married expressed "needs improvement, has problems, or needs repairs

  9. Years of membership at West-Ark:
    1. 25% of our people have been attending less than 5 years
    2. 41% have been attending for 6-20 years
    3. 35% have been attending West-Ark since it's beginning 22 yrs+

  10. Who lives in your home:
    1. 35% of our families have children between the ages of birth-18 currently living at home
    2. 37 ADULTS stated that their parent(s) currently live in their home

  11. 51 members, or approximately 10%, have stepparents (7 teens - 44 adults)

  12. 180 of our members have grandchildren

  13. Almost half of our families (48%) expressed they rarely, if ever have family time with a SPIRITUAL EMPHASIS outside of church services. 52% said they do spend spiritual time together as a family at least once a month.

  14. The best time for our members to participate in FLM classes:
    1. Sunday a.m. (300)
    2. Sunday p.m. (260)
    3. Wednesday p.m. (237)
    4. Saturday p.m. (85)
    (From this data, we can assume that our members are in a time crunch & feel the best time for their family to participate in FLM classes is a time when they are usually here anyway. The #1 time selected outside of Sunday or Wednesday was Saturday night.)

  15. The three most preferred formats for material to be delivered:
    1. Class (327)
    2. Discussion (236)
    3. Group Meeting (204)
    4. *Lecture and Film were close behind with 158 and 123 total votes

  16. Services our families need:
    1. Starting a daily quiet time (94)
    2. Marriage & Family Counseling (62)
    3. Caring for Aging Parents (57)
    4. Individual Counseling (55)
    5. Treatment of Alcohol/Drug abuse (21)

  17. Where would our members go for counseling needs:
    1. Christian counselor or psychologist (314)
    2. Minister of this church (296)
    3. Counseling ministry of this church (269)

  18. Concerns our members have about counseling:
    1. Concerns regarding privacy and anonymity (252)
    2. Fear of confidentiality being violated (182)
    3. Unsure of how to ask for help (161)
    4. Fear of being labeled (157)

  19. Support groups our members would be willing to participate in during the next two years:
    1. Marriage Enrichment (137)
    2. Women's Group (131)
    3. Parent's Group (79)
    4. Depression (75)
    5. Men's Group (72)

    Other groups mentioned 20 times or more:
    Divorce recovery, Grief and Loss, Fathering Group, Addiction Lifestyle

    *Please note that 13 ADULTS checked a personal need for an Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous support group

    Family Ministry Seminars, Workshops, Classes:
    (Top 10 answers and number of times it was checked)

    1. Managing Stress (195)
    2. Improving Friendships (136)
    3. Helping a friend in crisis (119)
    4. Establishing adult friendships (110)
    5. Handling the "blues/depression" (104)
    6. Improving my self-esteem (103)
    7. Handling anger (99)
    8. Finances/Money management (98)
    9. Relating to Aging Parents (96)
    10. Handling Conflict (93)

    Marital Training:
    (Top 10 answers and number of times it was checked)

    1. Enriching your spiritual life (166)
    2. Marital Communication (120)
    3. Understanding your spouses needs (117)
    4. Marriage Enrichment (99)
    5. Restoring romance in your marriage (96)
    6. Ideas for times together (88)
    7. How to build intimacy in marriage (82)
    8. How to resolve marriage conflict (75)
    9. Role of the wife (73)
    10. Role of the husband (70)

    Parent and Family Training:
    (Top 10 answers and number of times it was checked)

    1. How to discipline children/teens and parenting adolescents (173)
    2. How to nurture faith in children (132)
    3. How to shape values in children (122)
    4. Building healthy families (117)
    5. How to build self-esteem (114)
    6. How to communicate with children/teens (112)
    7. Leading a child to Christ (107)
    8. Building family traditions/memories (99)
    9. Handling family conflict (89)
    10. Helping families cope with stress (83)

    *Please note that a total of 52 people checked the following:

      Single parenting (24)
      Blended families (28)

    This should be taken into consideration knowing there is definitely enough need to provide a class and knowing these numbers are going to continue to increase.
    ("The largest growing family in the church is the step-family," Josh McDowell, 2000)

Basic Observations
by Brad Pistole

Based on the results we found by conducting the Congregational Needs Analysis at the West-Ark church from October 6th-16th, 2002, we can determine the following:

  • Approximately 87% of our average Sunday morning attendees filled out a survey. (499 of 575 - at least 75 of our usual crowd of 650 is below the age of 13 or is a visitor)

  • 70% of our adult members are currently married and 35% of our families currently have children living at home.

  • Approximately 40% of our married couples expressed an interest and/or need for Marriage Enrichment. 22% of our married couples expressed problems and said they needed improvements or repairs for their marriage.

  • The most common needs expressed by married couples interested in Marriage Enrichment involved: help with marital communication, understanding their spouse's needs, resolving marital conflict, building intimacy, and restoring romance to their marriage.

  • The most common needs expressed by all couples involving their children involve: how to discipline their children, parenting adolescents, nurturing faith in their children, shaping values in their children, and building healthy families.

  • Approximately 15% of our members have experienced a divorce. 57% of those who have been divorced have been remarried at least once. We found the following needs among families who have suffered divorce: 27 members have remained unmarried and 26 members have mentioned the need for divorce adjustment and recovery for themselves and their children. 24 adults have expressed a need for training in regard to single parenting. 28 adults have expressed a need for training in regard to being a blended family. 38 members said they would attend a class that would help their children cope with divorce. We currently have 51 members who have stepparents/stepfamilies.

  • About 50% of our families spend spiritual time together away from church. About 50% of our families have all of their spiritual experiences together during our worship assemblies.

  • The best times for our members to participate in special classes, seminars and workshops for the family's growth are Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. Saturday evening was the next best time.

  • 41 members marked "weekdays" as the best time for them to participate in a class, series, or workshop. The majority of members who marked this were retired. Special consideration should be given to beginning a weekly support group or class for members who are retired, available, and looking for support throughout the week. Many of these same members expressed need for help in dealing with depression and loneliness.

  • Our members prefer to learn in a classroom setting. They prefer discussions, group meetings (small groups), and lectures to help them study and learn.

  • 117 members (almost 25%) expressed a need for marital or individual counseling. The three preferred forms of counseling indicated by our members involved: a Christian counselor or psychologist, a minister of this church, or a counseling ministry provided by this church.

  • Our members were willing to participate in many different kinds of support groups. The majority expressed a willingness to participate in the following areas: Marriage Enrichment, Women's Group, General Parenting Group, Dealing with Depression, and Men's Group.

  • Areas of major need and concern expressed by the majority of our members: Managing Stress, Improving Friendships, Helping others in Crisis, Handling Depression, Handling Anger, Problems with Finances/Money Management, Marriage Enrichment, Raising Children

  • Other areas of concern expressed by the survey that did not fall into a "majority category" but still worthy of consideration: Divorce recovery, Dealing with Grief and Loss, Dealing with an addictive lifestyle, Struggle with drugs or alcohol, Need for AA/NA, Need for Substance Abuse Education, Needed outreach for Singles, Dealing with Aging Parents, Learning to minister as a family, Single Parenting, and living with a non-Christian mate.

 Link to next sermon

 Link to other Writings of David Chadwell