[featured_image]In starting Lake Hills in Castaic, California, one of our first steps to exegete and understand those in our town was do conduct a Community Survey. We chose to go door to door throughout the neighborhoods of Hidden Lake, Bravo, Northbluffs and Sagecrest on two consecutive Sundays (September 9 and 16).

The first question we asked was:

1. Are you an active member of a church? If they said yes, we did not continue the survey but thanked them for their time and went to the next house. If they said no, we asked them five more questions. The reason that we did not continue the survey with those who attended church was simple – we weren’t interested in reaching those who went to church; we were committed to reaching those who didn’t go to church.

Here’s the rest of the questions:

2. What are the biggest problems or needs in this community?

3. Why do you think most people don’t attend church?
(Note: This is an indirect way of asking “Why don’t you attend church?”)

4. If you were looking for a church in the area, what kinds of things would you look for?

5. What advice would you give the pastor of a new church?

6. Would you be interested in more information about a new church in your community?

If they said yes, we asked for their name and phone number, and later followed up with information about the church we intended to plant.

  • We visited 618 homes in two Sundays.
  • There were 352 residents home.
  • 62% of them completed the survey.
  • 58% of those surveyed requested more information.

We compiled the answers and printed a brochure with the results. We also included the following conclusions of our survey:

1. A new church is needed and wanted in this community.
2. A new church should address the following needs:

  • FAMILY programs
  • COMMUNITY involvement
  • FLEXIBLE meeting times
  • RELATIONAL approach
  • PRACTICAL life related teaching
  • OPPORTUNITIES for involvement

3. A church should consider people’s busy schedules when planning meeting times.

Where do we go from here?

  • Continue to seek input
  • Start Growth Groups
  • Begin a new church

The brochure also included our new logo, the name of the church, contact information, and an invitation to our Opening Celebration on November 4 at Live Oak Elementary School.

Today’s Missional Challenge

Discover the needs in your community by asking good questions as you converse with people, or consider taking a survey of the neighborhoods around you.