Are churchgoers on board with their church’s vision?

Seven in 10 church attenders are aware of and committed to their local church’s vision.

In the recent National Church Life Survey (2021 NCLS), NCLS Research asked church attenders whether their church had a clear vision, goals or direction for its ministry and mission, and if they were committed to that vision.

It’s true that most faith communities have a vision or direction they believe is important. Many leaders put time and effort into encouraging the people in their congregations to embrace the vision they see as vital to their church’s growth or health.

But how many church attenders actually understand and are committed to the vision of their local church?

Our results showed that nearly seven in 10 church attenders (68%) say they are aware of their local church’s vision, goals and directions and are partly or strongly committed to them.



While this is encouraging, awareness and commitment are not the only relevant issues. It’s true for many of us, that we are more likely to reach a goal if we have a clear and inspiring picture of what we want to achieve—and believe we can achieve it.

For attenders to embrace their church’s vision they also need to have confidence that the vision can be achieved.

So, are churchgoers confident that their church’s vision is achievable?

NCLS Research found that 43% of attenders are fully confident and 36% are partly confident that their local church can achieve the vision, goals or direction it has set for itself.



These insights have significant implications for leaders of faith communities. 

People may be aware of a vision and even committed to that vision. However, they also need to have a sense of confidence that the vision can be achieved.

Our research over time indicates there’s been a slight erosion in confidence over the past 5 years.  The work ahead of leaders with their faith communities is to refocus and rebuild that confidence. If a vision pushes people out of their comfort zone and they don't know how it can be achieved, they may be more likely to retreat from that vision.

For example, there’s little argument that Jesus’ command to “go into the world and make disciples of all nations”, means the vision of the Christian church must include those beyond the church. Yet, when forced to choose, church attenders often value the internal ministries of their churches over Jesus’ command to “go into the world and make disciples of all nations”.

Whatever the vision of a local church, the confidence needs to exist in the feasibility of that vision. Leaders and their faith communities must work together to own their vision and build that confidence to achieve it together.

Data Sources:

2021 National Church Life Survey, Attender Survey

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