Parish Survey Results and Analysis

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1 St. James Episcopal Church Baton Rouge, LA Parish Survey Results and Analysis April 10, 2015 FINAL - v.2.1 By Reb Scarborough Consultant 2015 Scarborough Consulting Services

2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY INTRODUCTION St. James Episcopal Church is an historic downtown church founded in 1844 as the first Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge and the fourth in Louisiana. They have always been located on Fourth Street, and their Gothic revival church building constructed in 1894 is a landmark of downtown Baton Rouge. They worship regularly in a variety of services that are liturgically centered based on the Book of Common Prayer and serve generously in the community. St. James has a rich history of leadership in Episcopal mission and outreach having founded four other Episcopal churches in the local area as well as St. James Day School, Episcopal High School, and St. James Place. In March 2014, the St. James Vestry held an off-site strategic retreat and discussed priorities for the Church parish. The Vestry agreed at that time to conduct a comprehensive parish survey to gain a sense of parish priorities and to understand the needs and expectations of our members. As part of an overall strategic planning process, a Strategic Planning Committee was formed to guide the process including developing this survey and commissioning several Task Forces to provide input to an overall plan. Scarborough Consulting Services was engaged to develop and conduct this survey to meet these needs, and the survey was open to all adult St. James parishioners for the three week period February 1 st 21 st, This was the first survey available to parishioners in fifteen years, and St. James experienced an overwhelming response to this current opportunity for input. In total, 349 surveys were collected representing approximately 63% of St. James average Sunday attendance (ASA) of 550. The St. James Parish survey results are extensive over 200 pages! They include responses to the 50 survey questions and include all comments submitted in the survey literally thousands of parishioners intense and heartfelt comments. It is the combination of these two survey components that describe the current state of St. James. You are encouraged to go to the full survey results online where you can have an indepth review and understanding of the results. In addition, this survey summary was prepared to provide a quick highlight of the key findings from the survey. In preparing this summary, Scarborough Consulting Services conducted an in-depth analysis of the full survey results both data and comments and focused on St. James successes and areas for improvement. Online survey results: Password SJECBR (note ALL CAPS) 2 P age April 10, 2015

3 SUMMARY FINDINGS St. James demographics are typical of a large traditional Episcopal Church in an urban area. They include older, well-educated parishioners who are active in the church and community. Many drive in from surrounding neighborhoods and communities. They are attracted to St. James because of strong family and friend bonds, the traditional worship liturgy and the historical building. St. James core values are inferred from what the survey participants find important and St. James strengths. They are centered on worship, family and friends, a strong sense of community, the historic church and its parishioners. St. James' future lies in its outreach to the community, focusing on the youth and young adults, ongoing worship opportunities and spiritual formation. St. James needs to clarify its response to serving the underprivileged in Baton Rouge. There is a heart for outreach, but how to do this is creating some disunity in the congregation. The parishioners need to enter into prayer and conversation, depend on the Holy Spirit to guide and inform how best to respond to those less fortunate in the community. Clarity of vision in this area will be critical going forward. St. James Day School is well respected and seen as effective. Other areas of the congregation life also seen as effective include the condition of the facilities, and internal communication. The comments suggest there are opportunities to better meet the needs and priorities of the parishioners, improve welcoming, including member integration into the life of the church, pastoral care, leadership development, programs for nonmembers, and creating a sense of unity and urgency for change. CONCLUSION Given the high response, these results are strongly representative of this congregation and will form a significant source of guidance to the strategic planning process currently underway. Thank you for the investment you made in responding to the survey and thus helping guide the future of St. James. 3 P age April 10, 2015

4 INDEX COVER 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 2 INDEX 4 DEMOGRAPHICS 5 MISSION 7 CORE VALUES 8 VISION 9 CHALLENGES 10 POLITICAL/SOCIAL ACTIVISM - SERVING THE UNDERPRIVILEDGED 11 CURRENT ASSESSMENT 13 DETAILED ASSESSMENT 14 WORSHIP 15 PROGRAMS 16 FELLOWSHIP 17 MINISTRIES RELATED TO CHURCH SERVICES 18 MINISTRIES RELATED TO DAILY DUTIES AND UPKEEP OF CHURCH 19 MINISTRIES RELATED TO PROVIDING CARE AND ASSISTANCE 20 LEADERSHIP 21 CHURCH PROPERTY 22 CLOSING COMMENTS 23 4 P age April 10, 2015

5 DEMOGRAPHICS Based on the averages, a typical congregant at St. James Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is 58 years old, married with children, well-educated, working as a higher executive, business manager or in an administrative position, and has been attending St. James for 23 years. He/she travels 8 miles to church, is active in both the congregation and community, and was initially drawn to St. James because of family and friends. They stay at St. James because of family and friends, style of worship, the historic worship space, community/ acceptance and Rector/ clergy. It is noteworthy that of the total respondents to the survey: - 33% are over 60 years old - Over 40% have attended St. James for over 30 years - Over one-third were initially attracted to St. James by family and friends - Only 8% have children in the Day School 5 P age April 10, 2015

6 6 P age April 10, 2015

7 MISSION We proclaim Christ crucified and risen, and invite you to join with us in ministry together in His name. A Mission Statement answers the questions, Why do We Exist?, and What is our Purpose? The mission of the congregation is a clear, concise declaration of purpose that is aimed directly at the hearts of the unchurched public. While 70% of respondents agreed that our mission statement (above) properly expresses the purpose of St. James, two-thirds of the comments that followed offered suggestions on how to improve it. Most notably, we should consider clarity around the following issues: worship as our primary purpose; care and nourishment for each other; inclusiveness; and defining ministry together. Agree with Current Mission Statement (skipped this question) 18% No 12% Yes 70% 7 P age April 10, 2015

8 CORE VALUES St. James Core Values can be inferred from what the parishioners find important and feel are their strengths. Core Values are unique and foundational attributes. Core Values say This is what we stand for, this is what we are all about, this is who we are, this is what we strive to offer, this is why we do what we do. Most often suggested were worship, family and friends, community, historic church, and parishioners. 8 P age April 10, 2015

9 VISION Vision is a compelling positive and idealistic statement (or set of strategic priorities) that describes how the Church wants to ultimately function in the future to meet its values and mission. It is The Parish We Aim to Become, a vivid word picture of our desired future state: Large enough to challenge, Clear enough to guide. This survey asked what are your hopes and dreams for this parish and asked for comments about St. James future. Most frequent responses included outreach, youth and young adult, worship, and formation. 9 P age April 10, 2015

10 CHALLENGES St. James greatest challenge is growing attendance in the face of declining national trends, especially among younger families and young professionals; actively engaging both current and new members is an important component of this and it s believed that strong youth and adult Christian Education programs will be essential in meeting the challenge. The divisiveness of our congregation over political and social issues is again identified as a major challenge, and many express a desire to address this division and restore unity. 10 P age April 10, 2015

11 POLITICAL/SOCIAL ACTIVISM - SERVING THE UNDERPRIVILEDGED An overwhelming majority of respondents (94%) support delivering hands-on efforts to serving the community as opposed to political participation or social activism; 21% favor participation in political issues for the same purpose and 45% consider social activism an acceptable practice for St. James. Over 125 comments were submitted on this subject and were thoughtful, heartfelt, and full of emotion. 11 P age April 10, 2015

12 POLITICAL/SOCIAL ACTIVISM - SERVING THE UNDERPRIVILEDGED - COMMENTS The comments to this survey question varied widely but largely expressed concern over the divisiveness caused by recent political and social activism at St. James particularly related to Together Baton Rouge and CATS. There is a widely held appreciation of/respect for the diversity of the St. James congregation, a broad interest in unifying the St. James congregation, and a preference for caution for strong congregational support of any high profile positions taken by St. James. There is a difference of opinion as to the primary purpose of St. James being worship versus outreach ministry. 12 P age April 10, 2015

13 CURRENT ASSESSMENT Seventeen different aspects of congregational life, ministries, programs, and leadership were assessed by selecting Strongly Agree (SA), Agree (A), Disagree (D), Strongly Disagree (SD), and Don t Know (DK) and then ranked in the following table*. The Day School - as a valuable community ministry of St. James - leads the ranking, while Unity of Congregation and Sense of Urgency rank low and provide opportunities for improvement. Assessment Area Score SA A D SD DK TR 28. Programs - St. James Day School: St. James Day School is providing a valuable community ministry. 29. Communication - Internal: I am aware of events and opportunities in a timely manner in order to fully participate in parish life. 31. Facilities - Condition: Our church property is attractive, in good repair and is neat and appealing. 18. Mission: Our church knows, articulates and affirms its God given mission. 32. Facilities - Meeting Needs: Our church s meeting facilities are effectively being used to accommodate growth and more activity. 34. Spiritual Growth: Our church offers regular opportunities for spiritual growth other than Sunday morning. 24. Ministry - Impact on Community: We have addressed/ improved the quality of life for people in our surrounding community. 26. Worship Services: Our worship services are inspirational and well done. 22. Leadership - Service: Our leaders, lay and ordained, display a spirit of humility and service. 33. Fellowship: Our parish has many opportunities for building relationships, that are inviting, interesting and fun. 19. Vision: Most of the members of this church share the same sense of God s mission and vision for our congregation. 30. Communication - External: The diocese and the surrounding community know what our parish has to offer and is invited to participate. 23. Leadership - Accountability: We clearly define the responsibilities of all persons in lay and ordained leadership in our congregation. 27. Programs - Meeting Congregational Needs: This church has intentionally assessed the needs of our congregation and offered quality 25. Ministry - Opportunity for Non-members: Our congregation provides activities, opportunities targeted to non-members. 21. Unity: We cultivate a strong sense of unity in our congregation at St. James. 20. Sense of Urgency: Our congregation displays a strong sense of urgency about achieving what we feel to be God s vision for it during the * * A score was the calculated by assigning values and adding together each choice. 10 points for SA, 7 for A, 3 for D and 1 for SD. DK received 0 points. The total sum was then divided by the Total Responses (TR) less the number of DKs. Each Area is ranked by score. The lower ranked areas are opporutunities for improvement. 13 P age April 10, 2015

14 DETAILED ASSESSMENT This section of the survey is assessing whether St. James ministries and programs are adding value to the St. James Community, are effectively being administered and are meeting overall expectations. The following eight different categories were assesed : WORSHIP PROGRAMS FELLOWSHIP MINISTRIES RELATED TO CHURCH SERVICES MINISTRIES RELATED TO DAILY DUTIES AND UPKEEP OF CHURCH MINISTRIES RELATED TO PROVIDING CARE AND ASSISTANCE LEADERSHIP CHURCH PROPERTY * The assessment process was similar to Current Assessment process through selecting Strongly Agree (SA), Agree (A), Disagree (D), Strongly Disagree (SD), and Don t Know (DK). A score was the calculated by assigning values and adding together each choice. 10 points for SA, 7 for A, 3 for D and 1 for SD. DK received 0 points. The total sum was then divided by the Total Responses (TR) less the number of DKs. Each Area is ranked by score. The lower ranked areas are opporutunities for improvement. 14 P age April 10, 2015

15 DETAILED ASSESSMENT- WORSHIP The Day School worship services are highly ranked although have low awareness. The 11:00AM, 5:00PM, and 9:00AM services are each highly ranked worship services with supporting high awareness. Both the survey and comments raise questions about the As- You-Are service and music programs and suggest a possible reevaluation of that worship service. Comments reflect a strong preference for traditional liturgies and services; that sermons have room for improvement; and that the music programs should be re-assessed for clarity of purpose and role within the service. Further, the majority of comments indicate that we already have enough or too many services, but would consider a Saturday afternoon service if it attracts young families to St. James. WORSHIP *Score Assessment Area SA A D SD DK TR 8.46 Day School Services :00 AM Rite II :00 Rite II :00 AM Rite II Music - St. James Girls' Choir/ Treble Choir Music - Adult Choir Music - Cherub Choir :30 AM Rite I WED Noon - Healing Sermons :00 AM As You Are Music - As You Are Ministry P age April 10, 2015

16 DETAILED ASSESSMENT- PROGRAMS/CHISTIAN EDUCATION Adult and Youth Responses of Don t Know were high in this program area. Adult confirmation classes, adult EFM, and the Nursery Guild ranked favorably. Both Youth and Adult Sunday School show room for improvement, and comments reflect concerns that young families are leaving St. James to attend other downtown churches who have strong Christian education programs, especially for children. Multiple respondents recommend placing a high priority on staffing this area with a competent, experienced leader who will transform our Christian formation to address the preferences of the congregation. PROGRAMS/ CHRISTIAN EDUCATION - ADULT AND YOUTH *Score Assessment Area SA A D SD DK TR 8.00 Adult - Confirmation Classes Adult - EFM Youth - Nursery Guild Youth - Confirmation Classes Youth - Acolyte Guild Youth - Children's Church Guild Adult - Bible Study Adult - CSF Programs Adult - Sunday School Programs Youth - Catechesis of the Good Shepherd P age April 10, 2015

17 DETAILED ASSESSMENT- FELLOWSHIP Both the survey responses and comments indicate two main points 1) the Fall Hospitality Party is greatly enjoyed, and 2) that St. James has room for improvement in fellowship in other areas. While some comments suggest we are doing a good job, many respondents do not feel welcome in St. James church services and the coffee hours, using terms like not a welcoming environment, cliquish, not inviting. FELLOWSHIP *Score Assessment Area SA A D SD DK TR 8.41 Fall Hospitality Party Crawfish Boil Small Group Gatherings (Foyer, EFM, Book Club, etc.) Welcoming to each other Episcopal Church Women Sunday Coffee Hours Associate Vestry Breakfasts Welcoming to Visitors/ Newcomers P age April 10, 2015

18 DETAILED ASSESSMENT- MINISTRIES RELATED TO CHURCH SERVICES These ministries supporting church services are broadly recognized and valued. Comments express particular appreciation for the altar guild and the wedding guild. Comments strongly suggest that more attention is needed for proper training and oversight of the acolytes, and also mention that the ushers should be trained in welcoming parishioners and newcomers. It is unclear to some respondents how to participate in this set of ministries and creates the opportunity to raise that awareness to include more volunteers. MINISTRIES - Related to Church Services *Score Assessment Area SA A D SD DK TR 8.51 Altar Guild Wedding Guild Eucharistic Ministers Lector/Readers Ushers Acolytes P age April 10, 2015

19 DETAILED ASSESSMENT- MINISTRIES RELATED TO DAILY DUTIES AND UPKEEP OF CHURCH Altar Flowers is well known and highly regarded for their work. Church Elves and the Greeters Guild are largely unknown but appreciated by those who are familiar with those ministries. Comments varied widely, but most of the specific comments expressed appreciation for the hard work of the Garden Guild but they recommended that the landscaping and maintenance work of the Garden Guild be assumed by hired professionals. MINISTRIES - Help with daily duties and upkeep of church grounds *Score Assessment Area SA A D SD DK TR 8.41 Altar Flowers Church Elves Garden Guild Foyer Flowers Greeters Guild P age April 10, 2015

20 DETAILED ASSESSMENT- MINISTRIES RELATED TO PROVIDING CARE AND ASSISTANCE Both the survey responses and comments reflect that many of these ministries to provide care and assistance are unknown among the congregation particularly St. Martha s Guild, Guild of the Christ Child, VIPs, Return to Life, and Honduran Ministries. Programs serving the homeless We Care Bags and Fifth Sunday Meals are well known and supported by the majority of respondents to the survey, but comments question these programs for a variety of reasons including safety, effectiveness, and duplication of services. MINISTRIES - Provide care and assistance *Score Assessment Area SA A D SD DK TR 9.00 St. Martha s Guild We Care Bags St. James Food Pantry Christmas Feast at St. James Guild of the Christ Child Kairos Stephen Ministry Fifth Sunday Meals Welcome Committee VIP s Return to Life Honduran Ministries P age April 10, 2015

21 DETAILED ASSESSMENT- LEADERSHIP All areas of leadership scored well in this section of the survey with widespread awareness of the various groups. Many of the comments focused on the Rector and Vestry and how they can better serve St James parishioners. There are specific suggestions as to how the Rector should improve his relationships with the congregation as a whole and as well as with individual parishioners. There are also comments that encourage the Vestry and Rector to establish a more balanced relationship in their governance roles of the church and to communicate more often and more effectively to the congregation. LEADERSHIP *Score Assessment Area SA A D SD DK TR 7.97 Vestry Standing Committees (Exec, Finance, Nominating) Sr. Warden/ Jr. Warden, Officers Staff Clergy Working Committees (Property, Stewardship, Outreach, Investment) 7.81 Ad Hoc Committees (Governance/ By Laws, Strategic Planning) Vestry Rector P age April 10, 2015

22 DETAILED ASSESSMENT- CHURCH PROPERTY Comments validate the congregation s deep appreciation for the beautiful old church that we are blessed with and they establish its preservation and maintenance as a top priority, and they suggest an intensive round of maintenance is required. Additionally, many report that the church properties both inside and out are not kept clean and should be. Exterior spaces ranked lowest in this section and comments indicate that parking is an ongoing issue, especially on weekdays and major events. CHURCH PROPERTY - Well maintained, Accessible, Welcoming, Properly utilized *Score Assessment Area SA A D SD DK TR 8.44 Bishops Hall Parish Hall Day School Church Offices Ministries Center Historical Church Building Landscapes Sidewalks Parking Lots P age April 10, 2015

23 CLOSING COMMENTS Closing Comments: Is there anything you would add that has not been covered in this survey? 23 P age April 10, 2015

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