Crossroads Survey Results
As most of you know, our Protocol Study Team has been looking at all of the issues surrounding the turmoil of the United Methodist Church and possible separation into multiple denominations. As part of that work, we recently surveyed our church to see what you think. Five hundred fifty-six (556) of a possible nine hundred ninety-three (993) participants responded to the survey. That equals approximately 56% of our congregation. The company which provided our survey indicated that a 50% response rate would be indicative of quality results.
The main reason for the survey was to give you a chance to share your voice and to get a feel for the consensus of our church family. Although there are several issues underlying the division in the UMC, the one that has received the most media attention involves the issue of human sexuality - specifically, the ordination of LGBTQ+ persons as UMC elders or deacons, and the performance of same sex weddings.
When asked about your views on those two issues, approximately 88% of our church either strongly supported or somewhat supported the current policies of the UMC which do not allow such ordination or marriage ceremonies. Approximately 9% of the respondents either somewhat or strongly disagreed with the current policy, while approximately 4% did not have a view on the policies.
Likewise, when asked if you would support a change in the current United Methodist policy to allow ordination of LGBTQ+ persons or the holding of same sex weddings, approximately 84% of the you responded that you strongly object or somewhat object to any such change. Approximately 8% indicated that they would somewhat approve or strongly approve of such change. Another 8% took no position on any such change.
The most important survey question concerned our congregation’s desire in the event of a split – whether you would want to remain a part of the UMC (which will change the current policies to allow such ordination and marriages) or move to a traditional Methodist denomination. Approximately 75% of our church’s respondents indicated that they would prefer disaffiliation from the UMC and affiliation with a new traditional Methodist denomination.
Approximately 7% of the respondents indicated that they would like to remain affiliated with the United Methodist Church despite any changes in policy, while almost the same percentage (7%) would like to disaffiliate with the United Methodist Church and become an independent congregation with no denomination affiliation.
A relatively small percentage (2%) indicated that they would either disaffiliate and join a new progressive Methodist denomination or equally support any of the above decisions. Another 7.4% took no position on any of the possible options.
The survey results also contained demographic information about attendance, connection with a Sunday School class or small group, and volunteer involvement in our ministries. Those results were what one might expect.
One interesting question asked what factors most influence your current attendance or membership at Park Avenue United Methodist Church. Approximately 41% indicated that personal relationships or family history influenced their attendance, approximately 12% said clergy and staff, 41% said traditional Methodist theology and practice, 2% indicated progressive Methodist theology and practice, and approximately 4% indicated that Park Avenue’s affiliation with the United Methodist Church was the reason for their attendance at the church.
We are very much appreciative of our church responding to this survey and indicating to the group studying this issue your thoughts on these very important matters. We continue to review options for our church, our conference and our denomination.
We also appreciate the diversity within our congregation, and respect the opinions of all. One of the centerpieces of this church family, is that we genuinely love one another - even if we have differing views on this or other issues. So, if your opinion doesn’t line up with the results from this survey - that’s okay. Thank you for your honesty, and your willingness to speak up for what you believe.
As we continue to remind you, no matter what happens with our denomination, Park Avenue will still be Park Avenue. We are still going to love Jesus and each other - no matter what.
While no official decision has been made at this point on what will happen in the event of a split, we believe that God will lead us to make the right decision. We will continue to study the options available to us and our conference, and will come to a suggested path forward for our church at some point in the coming months. As always, we covet your prayers for the Study Team, for our domination, and all who are part of this great church.
Thank you again for responding to this survey. If you would like to see the official results, just contact the Church Office to get a copy. (229-242-3562)