06 December 2018

What makes a church trustworthy? Seeking YOUR input.

Art by Bob Henry.

I've put together this survey to help me think through the theme that's been preoccupying me the last few years: building a trustworthy church. I hope you'll help me by filling out the survey ... as much or as little of it as you have time for.

It's not a scientific survey; I've hopelessly mashed together qualitative and quantitative elements, there's no randomizing of the order of questions; and I've probably done a poor job of concealing my own biases. In compensation, I've also put in lots of places where you can comment, introduce concerns that I've left out, and in general let me know your priorities. I may make changes in the survey form based on your feedback.

Among the sources and biases: I've adapted some of the "eight essential qualities of healthy churches" advocated by Natural Church Development, although I've not used their wording for any of them. I've tried not to make it too obviously a Quaker-derived survey, although that too probably leaks through.

Here it is! (Below.) And here's a link to the bare survey form without decoration or commentary: maurers.org/survey

UPDATE: I'm no longer collecting new survey responses. Here is the series of posts that followed this initial survey post:

Trustworthy, part one: The cost of betrayal
Part three: Choices
Part four: Churches' choices

A lot of Quaker energy has gone into reassuring skeptics and wounded refugees that we Friends are not like "those people," referring to the zealots, authoritarians, and religious entrepreneurs who have sometimes given faith a bad name. But what are we affirmatively promising? And how do we increase our capacity to keep our promises and become more trustworthy?

Let's say you are someone who's presently not in a church, but you're not totally allergic to the idea of being among people of faith, and are ready to learn what guides and motivates us believers, and to see whether it confirms a growing sense of faith already within you -- but you are not in the market for theatrics or manipulation or enmeshment with nationalist politics. What can our church promise you?

It's those concrete promises, and earning a reputation for keeping them, and using that reputation to increase our accessibility, that I'm interested in learning about. If you have already had experiences with churches that are trustworthy, or, sadly, with untrustworthy churches, or simply have an idea of what such a community might include, I'd like to learn from you. 

(I may have finished with this survey, but I am always eager to hear from you on this theme.)

Nancy Thomas's next chapter in her selected stories from Bolivian Quaker history.

Here's what a war on Christmas might really look like. (Thanks to Fulcrum Anglican for the link.)

More on John Allen Chau (my subject last week): Arthur Davis has more questions; and Todd Whitmore is angry.
It seems, then, that Chau failed not just in secular terms, but in theological and evangelical terms as well, and so my anger is also directed—unless they did whatever was in their power to stop him—at whoever trained and formed him in ministry, for they are also otherwise culpable for his death.
Peter Marks describes a fascinating collaborative process within the creation of the musical Hamilton.

An update on Internet regulations in Russia.

Russian scholar of Pentecostalism loses his teaching position.

Kat Baloun goes to Finland ...

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