March 2, 2023
As many of you know, our church is currently participating in a process called the Thriving Congregations Initiative through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. This is a Lilly-funded program that focuses on how a church can be a place that is thriving and healthy. One of the most important attributes of a church that is thriving is the ability to hold a deep appreciation for who we are/have been but also place the future in the hands of God as we experience change.
You no doubt remember that our Vision and Navigation Team conducted a survey of the congregation to look at both what we all love about Ardmore Baptist Church and what we feel we are called to change. The answers we received were varied, but I want to provide you with some highlights of the information we received.
- We received 241 responses. That represents about 70% of our weekly, in-person attendance.
- The average age of those who responded is 59.4 years old.
The first question we asked was: What do you love about Ardmore Baptist Church and you hope never changes? Here are the top three responses received:
- Thoughtful/engaging worship; both music and preaching. (63 people)
- A spirit of community, welcome, and friendliness. (52 people)
- Ardmore’s emphasis on missions to our local community and around the world. (50 people)
The second question we asked was: Because you love Ardmore Baptist Church, what must we be willing to change? Interestingly, the largest number of responders (48 people) either left this question blank or said something along the lines of “I don’t think anything needs to change.” For those who did provide an answer, here are the top three things you all said we need to be willing to change:
- We need to be a place that is diverse, welcoming, and inclusive of people of various ethnicities, sexual orientations, and perspectives (42 people).
- We need to be a place that is willing to explore various kinds and times of worship (29 people).
- We need to continue to value reaching children, youth, young adults, and young families (20 people).
A few things to notice about the results: There is no overwhelming, blowout response to either question. Clearly, we are a people with a multiplicity of opinions and that’s a beautiful thing! It also means that we need to have a great deal of both patience and grace with/for one another. These results do not mean that we are going to swoop in and make sudden, major changes. However, it does mean that we need to remain open to what holy experiments God may be calling us to.
Thank you for lending your voice and may we all continue to seek what God is calling us to do and live in to who God is calling us to be!