Online Survey, Questionnaires, Survey Questions

How to Conduct a Church Survey (+40 Essential Questions)

Considering a church survey? With membership in houses of worship continuing to decline (church membership fell below the majority for the first time in 2020, to 47%, down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999) now may be a good time to survey the flock to find out if they’re satisfied with church services and more. In this blog, we’ll look at why church leaders should consider a church survey and some of the questions to consider including.

Why Conduct a Church Survey?

Many people join a church because they want to be part of a community and achieve spiritual growth. But, to truly benefit from the experience of going to church, most want to feel a connection to the mission of the church. When conducting a survey, you can target regular church attendees, or survey the community as a whole to see what you may be able to do to entice others to join (at SurveyLegend, we recommend using separate surveys to keep the survey relatively short and avoid questions that may be irrelevant on one survey or the other). 

What are some of the reasons to conduct a church survey? Church leadership may want to understand the following:

  • Overall satisfaction levels with doctrine and programs
  • If people feel they’re being “spiritually fed”
  • Whether congregants get the feeling of community from the church
  • If congregants feel welcomed by the church
  • Whether congregants disagree with preaching styles or particular teachings
  • If attendance has changed due to preaching styles or particular teachings
  • How congregants feel about financially supporting the church
  • If congregants are actively looking for another church, and if so, why

Understanding how people feel about church activities and the church, in general, can help church leaders make adjustments that may re-engage congregants or attract new members.

Tips for Church Satisfaction Surveys

Before creating your church survey, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Collect Demographic Information

Your survey should ask about age, gender, marital status, income, residence, and other basic information such as frequency and years of attendance. This way, church leadership can track trends and understand exactly who their audience is. For example, is your congregation trending young? Sermons may need to be adjusted to appeal to these generations.

Prioritize Survey Questions

You don’t want to overwhelm congregants with too many questions. So, think about what’s most important for each survey. For example, if you’re planning the church budget, ask about what programs congregants feel are most important and if they plan to give. If you’re planning out a sermon strategy, ask questions about whether congregants are feeling spiritually fed during weekend services and what they’d like to hear more about.

Allow Optional Comments

Why not collect as much feedback as possible? Limiting responses only to your specific list of questions could result in you missing out on some important feedback or some great ideas.

Don’t Over-Survey

Congregants are bound to become annoyed if you’re surveying them every Sunday. Spread out your surveys over a period of time to avoid survey burnout. You might consider one survey solicitation per person per month. Of course, one of the great things about online surveys? You can email them at any time, not waiting for any given Sunday (read about 12 more advantages of online surveys here).

Share Results (But Protect Privacy)

It’s a good idea to let survey participants know if their opinions led to new policies or initiatives. This lets them know that church leadership values their feedback and strives to make improvements. Results could be posted online, in the church newsletter, or discussed prior to services.

Essential 40 Questions to Ask on Church Surveys

Now, on to the questions! While your church survey questions may vary, here are some popular questions to consider asking congregants.

First-Time Visitor Survey Questions

This survey is designed to collect feedback from first-time visitors, whether they’re attending with a friend or family member or just checking out the church on their own.

  1. Please evaluate your experience at our church today (scale of 1-5 for each element, 5 being the best).
    1. Message
    2. Music/Choir
    3. Environment
    4. Friendliness
    5. Cleanliness
    6. Decor
    7. Overall Experience
  2. How much “church experience” do you have?  
    1. Lots of church experience  
    2. Only attend on holidays  
    3. Never been to church  
    4. Been hurt in church  
    5. Looking for a new church
    6. Other
  3. Did you feel welcomed upon entering our church?
  4. What are some ways that you think we could make our church family more welcoming for new visitors?
  5. What did you enjoy most about attending services here?
  6. Is there anything you change about attending services here?
  7. What are some ways that you think we could make our church family more welcoming for new visitors?
  8. How did you hear about our church?
  9. Would you come back to our church?
  10. Have you attended services at another church in the past year? If so, what did you like about their services that we could emulate?
  11. Is there anything you would like our church to pray about?
  12. Any additional comments?

Importance of First-Time Visitor Surveys

With this survey, you can gather a lot of valuable feedback because the respondent is visiting your church for the first time and seeing things through fresh eyes. If they’ve attended services somewhere else, they may also give you ideas that you can put into practice.

Church Membership Survey Questions

Regular attendees are likely to be very vocal, as they’ve been coming to your church for a while and may have formed some very strong opinions on different matters. Church survey membership questions to consider include:

  1. How long have you been a member of this church? 
  2. How did you first hear about this church? 
  3. Please choose from the following list everything that influenced you to join/attend this church: 
    1. It’s welcoming
    2. Location near my home 
    3. Liked the activities of the church 
    4. Excellent facilities
    5. Liked the pastor and/or staff 
    6. Common interests with members 
    7. Worship style 
    8. This was/is my family’s church
  4. Why do you attend church?
    1. To become closer to God
    2. So my children will have a moral foundation
    3. To become a better person
    4. For comfort in times of trouble or sorrow
    5. I find the sermons valuable
    6. To be part of a faith community
    7. To continue my family’s religious traditions
    8. I feel it’s an obligation
    9. To meet new people or socialize
    10. To please their family, spouse, or partner
  5. How well do you feel you understand the mission of our church? 
  6. Do you feel our church spends money in a way that aligns with its mission?
  7. Do you leave services feeling spiritually fed?
  8. Which service time do you usually attend? Which service time are you least likely to attend?
  9. Do you feel the sermons are relevant to your life?
  10. Are you usually in agreement with the doctrine being preached?
  11. Do you feel the church is sensitive to the major needs of congregants?
  12. Does the worship music at our church resonate with you?
  13. Please select the following amenities or events you  enjoy the most (free coffee bar, mission trips, church barbecue, field day, Sunday school, etc.)
  14. Would you like to have a more active role in the church?
  15. Which of the following ministry opportunities are you most interested in participating in during the coming year? (List upcoming ministries)
  16. Which of the following outreach programs would you be most interested in volunteering with? (List outreach programs)
  17. Any additional comments?

Importance of Church Membership Surveys

With this church survey, you want to be sure that regular congregants understand your mission as this should inform all your church activities, from the types of sermons given to the outreach programs supported. If you’re not sure what your mission is, or people aren’t connecting with it, they’re more likely to leave and find another church. Are congregants unsure of how you use funds raised or donations given? It’s important to educate them so they’ll be more apt to support new programs and initiatives that require more spending. Looking at which programs congregants are most interested in volunteering for is also a good indicator that it’s a worthwhile investment.

Finally, it’s important that members feel welcomed and that they view their church as a community. Support from church leaders or other members of the flock during difficult times is often very important to church attendees, so you want to be sure they know that they’re not alone.

Community Outreach Church Survey Questions

Sometimes, churches want to look outside their congregation and guests to gauge the pulse of the community. Perhaps you’re looking to grow your membership, and want to discover what could bring in new members. Some questions to consider on this church survey include:

  1. Do you currently attend a church?
  2. Have you heard of our church, [CHURCH NAME]?
  3. Have you ever been to our church?
  4. If you don’t attend church, why not?
    1. Practice my faith in “other ways” 
    2. Not a believer
    3. Haven’t found a house of worship I like
    4. Don’t feel welcome
    5. Too busy to attend
    6. Poor health or mobility
    7. Too crowded
    8. Other
  5. What might convince you to attend church?
    1. Different service times
    2. Availability of online services
    3. A more welcoming/inclusive atmosphere
    4. Sermons that are more relevant to my life
    5. Newer/more current music
    6. A clearly define church mission
    7. Support of different outreach programs
  6. Have you ever attended, or would you consider, attending church online instead of in person?
  7. How far do you travel to attend our church? 
  8. Where do you travel from?
  9. Have you recommended our church to friends or family in the area? 
  10. If we were to open a new location, who from our leadership team do you think should help launch it?
  11. Any additional comments?

Importance of Community Outreach Surveys

These church survey questions will help you uncover why people may not be attending church (and if it’s your church or just church in general). If inconvenient service times or crowding is an issue (and it very well could be during COVID) you may be able to determine whether live streaming your services is a viable option (read more about virtual events here). You can also zero in on which area of your region would make the most sense to expand into.  


With church attendance down, it’s more important than ever for church leadership to survey its congregation and community to understand why. Armed with survey knowledge, churches can begin to make changes or improvements that can help to attract or re-engage members. Ready to begin your church survey? SurveyLegend is here to help, with beautifully rendered surveys that you can securely send to church and community members online. We have dozens of survey templates that you can use to create your own church survey questionnaire template, so get started today!

Do you regularly survey your congregation? What about the community at large? Have surveys made a difference for your church? Let us know in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is church membership declining?

Yes. In 2020, church membership fell below the majority for the first time, to 47%. That’s down from 50% in 2018 and 70% in 1999.

Why should church leaders conduct church surveys?

Church surveys help church leaders understand what they’re doing well and where they could improve. The input from surveys can also help inform doctrine and programs which can reinvigorate the congregation or help attract new members.

Should churches livestream their services?

Live streaming church services may help attract people who are strapped for time, younger people more digitally included, those in poor health or not ambulatory, and those concerned about COVID-19.

About the Author
Born entrepreneur, passionate leader, motivator, great love for UI & UX design, strong believer in "less is more”. Big advocate of bootstrapping. BS in Logistics Service Management. I don't create company environments, I create family and team environments.