Thank you so much to everyone who completed our survey about services in September / October. Here are some of the headline results and a sample of the comments that were made (the full results are available to download further down):
What elements of services do we most appreciate?
What about changing the pattern of services?
Click here to download the full results. And see the bottom of this article for more comments that people made.
The Church Council has pored over these responses. We’re trying to get consistency with the start time of services – but even that isn’t completely straight-forward! We’re also very aware that our staff team is considerably smaller than it was a year ago, and that in general, people’s willingness to help is lower than it was pre-pandemic. So there are significant challenges with moving back to 2 services on a Sunday morning on a regular basis – especially given that we only have enough helpers to run Junior Church twice a month at the moment.
In the mean time, we’re grateful for what we have got: the freedom to worship in public (which many of our sisters and brothers around the world don’t have); a congregation with a great range of ages (which many congregations in the Church of England don’t have); a good variety in the range of service styles we offer; and wonderful teams who welcome, make refreshments, lead us in sung worship, do the sound and live-streaming, preach, and lead children’s groups. Most of all, let’s be grateful that the LORD of heaven and earth, the King of Kings, has called us into such a diverse family, invites us to worship him, longs to speak with us, promises to be with us as we gather in his name and guarantees to listen to us when we speak to him. Wow – what a privilege!
So “let us not give up meeting together” (Hebrews 10.25). And “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give [us] the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice [we] may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15.5-6).
Some more of the comments people made:
“I don’t expect the services to always suit me and my preferences. I would expect them to be shaped so that they connect with people outside the church where possible”
“Quiet moments in the service, not marred by music playing at the same time as we are trying to pray or contemplate”.
“I would like to see meaningful teaching, heartfelt worship, a spirit-led church”
“Persist with testimonies and response from the congregation. We aren't very good at it, but perhaps with more practice...”
“I do really understand the challenge of meeting the needs of everyone is tricky, and I am mindful that we have limited numbers of some of the younger age groups in our congregation, and they do need to be a key consideration going forwards.”
“Would like more on living life (As a Christian), as feels very focused on explaining the bible passage with less weight on application sometimes.
“We love the fact that there is openness to explore different types of services and the emphasis on family discipleship followed through with Explore Together. Wonder walk and Angel's packs for home - Fab!”
“Prefer not the Explore services, don't find them a satisfactory act of worship, but recognise that some do like this form. I do usually attend and usually spend time with someone in the congregation who is obviously confused by it, e.g. visitors or elderly.”
“It would be nice to have a greater variety in the choice of traditional hymns. There are definitely more than 3 out there!”
“I regard as important singing that is well-led (trad or modern songs) that fit with any theme in the service - and I think we have this at the moment
“I enjoy it when there are bible passages from other languages incorporated. There is such a diverse range of cultures and languages represented in the congregation, it would be enriching to have some elements of these incorporated into our services more, for example their different styles and formats of worshipping - learning about these may open us and our faith up in new ways.”
“Different start times are rubbish”
“I think you need 2 services each Sunday with different styles/ target groups like you had before. I miss the 9.00.”
“Wonderwalk are awesome!”