In years past, a denominational survey of this kind was conducted every five years to provide staff and synod with a snapshot of how the church was faring.
In 2017 the process changed. Instead of a full denominational survey every five years, there is now a smaller survey conducted every year.
All Christian Reformed congregations have been assigned to one of five “cohorts,” each created to reflect the diversity and make-up of the denomination.
Each year, one cohort — or 20 percent of the denomination — is specifically invited to participate in the survey. These churches are asked to strongly encourage their members to participate in the survey to ensure a robust number of responses. To assist them in this promotion, the CRCNA has created several promotional tools.
Churches and members who are not part of this year’s cohort are still welcome to participate. That’s because while only one fifth of congregations are asked to strongly promote the survey each year, the survey is open to all CRC churches and members every year.
The denominational survey is used to help the CRCNA listen to individual church members, gauge how ministry is affecting the churches and the denomination, and assist in planning for the future. Available in English, Spanish, and Korean, the survey can be found here.
The survey is anonymous and does not track any identifying information about you other than your congregation's name and some of its administrative attributes. Please answer openly and honestly.
The survey is administered by Christian Reformed Church denominational staff in cooperation with the Center for Social Research at Calvin College.
“Together with you, we seek to conduct surveys not as the world might do, to exploit human weaknesses for worldly gain, but as heaven would, to learn together how to invite God to infuse his strength into our many shared weaknesses to minister to God’s people, especially to the weak and vulnerable among us,” say CRCNA leaders in a letter about the survey.
Results from last year's survey show that 216 churches were invited to recruit responses to the survey. A total of 1,596 people from 77 churches responded.
The survey report provides a glimpse of what congregations are thinking on various topics and shows where the denomination can assist them in such areas as discipleship or collaboration. It also serves as a baseline against which future changes in the desired futures ofOur Journey 2020, the CRCNA Ministry Plan, can be measured.
For instance, preliminary results of the 2017 CRCNA Member Survey showed that many respondents believe their congregations have become healthier in the past five years.
At the same time, the average age of members continued to climb, and the proportion of households without children under 18 continued to rise.
There were also areas of the survey that showed CRC leaders where they might come alongside congregations and help them start new churches or discipleship communities.