by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 11/19/15.
A student shared a remarkably simple method to gauge community needs, saying,
“They (church members) asked very simple questions, and asked for no names. The biggest question asked was a simple one. ‘If a church could help meet any need that you have right now… what would that be?’
They would also give a postcard that the household could fill out and send in if they wanted the church to pray for them.
Over the eight weeks they were able to actually connect with over 80% of the residents and the results were tallied. (Which was way beyond statically sufficient data to ascertain the needs of the community).
The overwhelming need of those surveyed was childcare. So the church opened a low-cost daycare and a kindergarten. A letter was sent out to all the addresses in the target area letting them know this need was being met by the church and that this was available. It also stated that the second largest need identified, home repair help, would start up in the fall of that year.
The day care and kindergarten were at capacity almost immediately… and the results… many of those young parents began coming to church. The church also made sure the children carried home information about events at the church every week.”
Could this work for you … why or why not?
Most churches are guessing about community needs or using anecdotal insights and the results are not reliable (and the plans are even less reliable). I am here to help church leaders to make reliable and effective plans and if your measurement of community needs is unreliable you will not craft effective plans.