The Gallup Q12 and Church Lay Leaders, Pastors and Sunday School Teachers. Part 3

Perhaps there’s a part of us, as church leaders, that hopes that folks will just show up in our churches, small groups, and classes because God has called them. We hope they are engaged, compliant and active, only caring about how they might serve, never worrying about what they are getting from their experience. We hope they don’t complain, tithe faithfully, and furnish a steady stream of delicious baked goods.

Alas… sheep are…well…sheep. And frankly they need and deserve pastoral leadership. They don’t come to us as the robotic righteous, but as children of God in need of understanding, encouragement, coaching and Truth. That’s where we as church leaders come in.

I’ve learned that my work at studying the art and science of leadership has not been “unspiritual,” but, instead, it has been where God has done some of His best work in me.

Thus, this series on the Gallup Q12.

For over 30 years, the Gallup organization has been studying how workers connect with their organizations and, more specifically, what factors lead to employee engagement, a critical factor in employee fulfillment and organizational success.

The study, referred to as the Gallup Q12 because of the 12 statements that arose from the research as cited in part 1 and part 2 of the post series, has much to offer church leaders in terms of understanding congregational behavior.

Albert Winseman, who is Gallup’s principal consultant for faith-based organizations, has used the Q12 data to translate the concept of engagement to church leadership. Winseman’s book is Growing an Engaged Church: How to Stop “Doing Church” and Start Being the Church Again

As there are 12 assertions that are descriptive of an engaged worker, there are 9 that are reflective of an engaged member of your congregation.

Those 9 items are:

  • My faith is involved in every aspect of my life.
  • Because of my faith, I have meaning and purpose in my life.
  • My faith gives me inner peace.
  • I am a person who is spiritually committed.
  • I spend time in worship or prayer every day.
  • Because of my faith, I have forgiven people who have hurt me deeply.
  • My faith has called me to develop my given strengths.
  • I will take unpopular stands to defend my faith.
  • I speak words of kindness to those in need of encouragement.

Gallup’s conclusion is that the more an individual member of your congregation, small group or class affirms these 9 statements, the more likely they are to be engaged and therefore involved, fulfilled and valuable to the discipleship of your group.

Nothing replaces the pastoral training available in Scripture, of course. First Peter 5, 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, etc., are the places to start.

But the value of the Gallup data is that it presents an accurate snapshot of people’s perceptions of how they are most effectively led and provides an understanding of best church leadership practices.

Some key ideas from the study:

  • People don’t come to our services or classes because they want to know more about God, but because they want to experience God. How should that understanding reflect how you pray for and prepare your messages? How much of my message should connect to Scripture as information, for instance, and how much as inspiration?
  • People who are satisfied with their life tend to be more engaged in their church. This seems obvious. However, it does beg the question: How can the church expand its influence on a person’s other-than-Sunday life. It probably starts with a small group ministry and active ministry programs – particularly those to the marginalized and in-need – but where else can we take it?
  • The average church member spends 2.5 hours per week “serving or helping others in the community.” The higher the number over that, the more likely a person will report church engagement.
  • Engaged church members each year average a median of 5% ($2,115) of their annual incomes to their congregations. The more opportunities people have to give, and the more media for giving they are offered, the more likely engagement will increase.

Some churches actually begin the process of understanding engagement by turning the 9 Gallup statements into questions and surveying members of the congregation.

Are there one or two simple things you could initiate in your church, small group or class to begin the engagement discussion?


Growing an Engaged Church: How to Stop “Doing Church” and Start Being the Church Again

First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

12: The Elements of Great Managing

Gallup Q12 Meta Analysis

Gallup Q12 Slide Share


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