From the Worldwide Faith News archives

[UMNS-ALL-NEWS] UMNS# 537-Survey to help assess 'State of Church' for United Methodists

From NewsDesk <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Mon, 11 Sep 2006 17:36:04 -0500

Survey to help assess 'State of Church' for United Methodists

Sep. 11, 2006 News media contact: Linda Bloom * (646) 3693759* New York {537}

NOTE: Photographs are available with this story at

By United Methodist News Service

United Methodists are encouraged to participate in an online survey to help collect information for the denomination's "State of the Church" project.

The project is sponsored by the Connectional Table, created by the 2004 United Methodist General Conference - the denomination's top legislative body - to guide mission and ministries.

The survey can be found at or by going to It may be placed on other official denominational Web sites as well, and United Methodist Communications is sending the link to its e-mail lists.

The Martec Group, a research firm based in Chicago, is collecting information for the State of the Church project. The firm is interviewing bishops, pastors, district superintendents, annual conference treasurers and administrative service directors, connectional ministries directors and designated lay leaders. The first draft of the project report should be completed by the end of the year.

Meera Buck, a United Methodist, is the principal researcher for United Methodist data for Martec. Data will be gathered from church members in the United States, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Germany, Switzerland, Russia and the Philippines.

The survey will be used as research for the state of the church report, says United Methodist Bishop John L. Hopkins, chairperson of the Connectional Table.

"It seems when agencies of our church do surveys, they tend to do it from that agencies' perspective," he said. "The Connectional Table is trying to do something above and beyond any particular perspective, and that is why we went with an outside firm."

The online survey asks respondents how important certain core beliefs are to their spiritual journey and to what extent the church offers opportunities to study, pray about and practice those beliefs.

Respondents also are presented with five core values of the United Methodist Church and asked how important the values are to their spiritual journey. One of the core values, for example, is: "Faith in Jesus Christ is expressed in work for justice and by providing for the needs of the poor, and all who are 'pushed aside or left out.'"

Survey takers judge how important prayer, worship with others, financial giving, Bible study and working for social justice is to their religious life. They also are presented with a list of issues facing the world today and asked how important it is for the church to focus on each issue.

Other questions focus on how the church operates as a connectional system, its organizational structure and the effectiveness of pastors.

Respondents are asked to offer opinions about what the church needs to do to attract young people as members; to voice agreement or disagreement with the official denominational policy on homosexuality; to list their primary reason for becoming a member of the United Methodist Church and express how hopeful they are for future of the local church and denomination as a whole.

The survey complements a telephone survey that Martec was already doing.

News media contact: Linda Bloom, New York, (646) 369-3759 or


United Methodist News Service Photos and stories also available at:


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