2012 Survey of Christian Reformed Congregants

2012 Christian Reformed Church Survey

Survey Coordinator Page

Click here to view the FAQ page.

Dear Survey Coordinator,

Thank you VERY much for helping us connect your congregation to the 2012 Christian Reformed Church Survey. This page covers the following areas:

  1. Tasks for Coordinators
  2. Resources for Coordinators
  3. Common Questions and Concerns

Tasks for Coordinators

We want this to be as easy as possible for you. Do the best you can to invite every person at your congregation to participate online during three consecutive weeks in August, September, or October 2012 (at your convenience, beginning as early as Sunday, August 12th and as late as October 14, 2012).

You might do some or all of the following:

    • place an announcement in your bulletin or newsletter (example below);
    • distribute bulletin inserts or flyers on Sunday mornings, in mailboxes, bulletins or otherwise as best suits your congregation;
    • make a verbal announcement on three successive Sunday mornings, calling attention to the flyers (we will update you weekly by email on your responses received to date);
    • send email to any list of members and attenders you can reach that way;
    • post handouts on walls and bulletin boards and/or place stacks for pickup;
    • personally encourage individuals to participate, especially those who may need an “Internet guide” to help them complete the survey.

Resources for Coordinators

Here are some resources to help you accomplish this aim. As always, feel free to contact us at csr@calvin.edu or 616 526-7799 if you have any questions or trouble.

  1. The survey can be viewed at any time at this web address:

    http://www.calvin.edu/go/crcsurvey

    Completed surveys will be included in the results, so please don't click "FINISH" unless you are submitting a genuine response. Your comments are very welcome.
     
  2. Here is some suggested text for an email message or other announcement; feel free to edit to suit your preferences.

    sample message:

    Please take a minute this week to complete the 2012 Christian Reformed Church Survey. Everyone is invited! We are one of 260 congregations selected to participate. Just visit the web address http://www.calvin.edu/go/crcsurvey. If the Internet is a challenge for you, find a guide to help or contact [fill in contact information for the survey coordinator, the church office, etc.]. Your response will help document the health of our congregation and the Christian Reformed denomination as a whole.
     
  3. If possible, please distribute these flyer/bulletin inserts on at least the first Sunday; all 3 weeks would be great. Each flyer is full-sheet (8.5x11 inch) in PDF format, with 2 copies per page (print and cut in half)

    Click here to open or download the survey bulletin insert flyer

    NOTE: given sufficient notice, we may be able to help you customize the flyer for your congregation. Contact your assigned research assistant, or call 616 526-7799, or email csr@calvin.edu.

    PDF printing tips: on the main Adobe Reader Print dialog box:
    - set "Page Scaling" to "None"
    - check the "Auto Rotate and Center" box
    - look at the preview image at center right and make sure it looks like the image below:

    screen shot of PDF print dialog

Common Concerns and Questions for Coordinators

  1. What is the survey about?
  2. A: The survey is a general-purpose survey that happens every five years. The survey aims to help leaders at all levels of the Christian Reformed Church in North America to better understand the composition of the church and the beliefs and practices of the participants.

  3. Do we have to get everyone to respond?
  4. A: In short, no; recruitment efforts are at your discretion. The more responses you can generate, the better, and total participation is ideal. But no one is going to require you to improve your response rate. However, if you would like a report about your church specifically, you will need at least 30 respondents (see #6 below).  

  5. Why the Internet-only method? Won't that exclude a lot of people?
  6. A: In short: it's inexpensive, and yes, some. Results so far include roughly appropriate proportions of low-income and older people. The survey planning committee concluded that the potential benefits of all-electronic data collection and the growing proportion of the population with Internet experience made it worth beginning to set the precedent. We'd like to encourage those with no Internet experience to find someone who has experience to help them get started responding (while respecting the privacy of the responding person, of course!).

  7. What about rural or poor congregations and non-English-speaking congregations?
  8. A: Please be assured that we are all keenly interested in ensuring everyone is fully represented; documenting the diversity of the CRC is an important function of the survey. However, to be as economical as possible, we need to gauge the extent to which print surveys and/or language translations are required. If your congregation has significant numbers of persons you are sure will not be able to respond in English online (and you haven't already informed us!), please contact us and tell us the specifics. Meanwhile, please do invite anyone who may be able to respond in American or Canadian English, to complete the survey online now. Spanish, Korean, and Chinese translations will be available by September 1.

  9. The survey seems awfully subjective, or disagreeable, or offensive, or theologically deficient, or poorly designed, or irrelevant to our congregation, and so forth. Why should we participate?
  10. A: You're not alone. As survey designers, we are rarely satisfied with our own work. Please be gracious, and keep the following in mind:
    • The survey is just one of many, many means through which we all can be better informed ourselves as a part of Christ's body. The survey team does not expect it to capture everything that matters, and neither should you.
    • Please remember that the survey is NOT principally a judgmental document with "right answers". Some answers may seem preferable to others, but that does not mean that we will simply assume that churches with low "scores" have something wrong with them. On the contrary, we are just beginning to experiment with using surveys to understand what "congregational health" means.
    • If you are concerned about the theological implications of the survey, please let us know. Keep in mind that the survey is NOT a doctrinal statement of any kind. It is an inquiry, and as such must leave room for diversity of opinion, whether or not we believe it is a good kind of diversity.
    • Your feedback matters--tell us what you think in your survey comments or directly by email, and it will help us recognize where the survey is weak and should be taken lightly.

  11. What will our congregation get out of the survey?
  12. A: First, you will receive the overall report documenting the entire survey's results. Second, it is our intention to offer each participating congregation that requests it and obtains at least 30 responses a summary of your responses, along with some comparison to all the participating congregations on important measures. This may take some time to compile, so you will have to be patient! Finally, Rodger Rice and Neil Carlson will be available for telephone and personal consultations about congregational survey results for congregations willing to cover his travel expenses.

  13. Who is doing all of this survey work?
  14. A: The survey team includes the following people:

    Rodger Rice, Principal Investigator; professor emeritus from Calvin College and Barnabas Foundation consultant.

    Neil Carlson, Project Manager; director of the Calvin College Center for Social Research

    Tom Sherwood, Project Assistant; research associate at the Calvin College Center for Social Research

    As well as the Center for Social Research's Student Research Assistants:

    Leah Hoogstra
    Michael Kelly
    Melissa Lubbers
    Lauren Muñoz
    Shawntavia Stewart

    The survey team is advised by a committee including:

    Bruce Adema, Director of Canadian Ministries
    Gary Bekker, Director, Christian Reformed World Missions
    Henry Hess, Director of CRCNA Communications

    With additional advisory support from:

    Viviana Cornejo, Christian Reformed Home Missions
    Moses Chung, Director of Christian Home Missions
    Lis Van Harten, Director of Sustaining Pastoral Excellence and Sustaining Congregational Excellence
    Steve Kabetu, Director of Christian Reformed Home Missions in Canada