In October Ray Christenson was asked by the pastors and church council, to conduct a feasibility study for Good Samaritan Lutheran Church. The primary purpose of this study was to determine if the membership of Good Samaritan Lutheran Church was willing to support a capital campaign. The purpose of the campaign would be to construct a new sanctuary on the current property.
In addition, there was a desire to determine the favorableness of the Academy [school] by the congregation. In other words, was the congregation supportive of the mission of Good Samaritan expanding the school and see the school as one of the missions of the congregation.
In the structuring of the questionnaire, it was decided to ask the congregation to discuss the strengths, and areas needing improvement for the ministry. Included in the study was the question of why 375 has been an attendance barrier for Good Samaritan. In the past ten years, Good Samaritan Lutheran Church has achieved a yearly average attendance of 375, only to have attendance decline thereafter for a few years, before climbing back to the 375 yearly average once again. The question focused on member’s ideas about why this barrier exists.
The study took place from November 9, 2017 to December 12, 2017. Fifty-nine interviews took place. Of the fifty-nine, twenty-five people of these fifty-nine were in two focus groups. One focus group, was attended by eight people. The other focus group was attended by seventeen people. This means that thirty-four people were part of individual interviews conducted by myself [Ray Christenson]. Of these fifty-nine people, all worship services were represented proportionately. Staff members were included in the interviews, along with church council members. Included were long-time members and new members.
The foundation of the questionnaire, was based on the responses from a spring, 2016 questionnaire filled out by the congregation. The purpose of later 2016 survey was to explore in depth the responses from the earlier questionnaire and to ask the subsequent questions concerning a capital campaign and the building of a new sanctuary. The filled-out survey responses, the responses of the focus groups , and the thirty-four individual interviews form the basis of the insights and overview of this study.
The interviews and focus groups give a strong, representative indication of their feelings concerning the capital campaign, the new sanctuary, and other questions explored by the interviewer and interviewee.