The Gallup Q12 and Church Lay Leaders, Pastors and Sunday School Teachers. Part 4

The Gallup Q12 is one of the most significant and helpful studies of human behavior ever conducted. It’s a study whose reliability and validity have been affirmed repeatedly. The Q12 has stood the test of poking, questioning, and scrutiny and stands as a very helpful source for informing leaders. Further, I hope this series has demonstrated that the principles of the Q12 can be effectively translated to churches and, therefore, is relevant to church lay leaders, pastors, ministers and small group leaders.

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.

Based on Gallup’s study, there are 9 statements that are reflective of an engaged member of your congregation.

  • 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.

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 about how they are most effectively led and therefore provides an understanding of best church leadership practices.

So, if you surveyed the members of your congregation, class or group on the 9 statements above, how much affirmation would you find? The suggestion is that the more agreement you find with the 9 statements, the more engaged your members. And, as a God-chosen leader in the church, engaging your members is critical – as Jesus demonstrated.


For Winseman and his Gallup colleagues, there are four primary indicators of the health of a congregation – which, again, Gallup summarizes in the term, engagement.

Life Satisfaction

The more congregation members who agree with the statement – “I am completely satisfied with my life.” – the greater engagement with the congregation. This doesn’t imply that you need to lead people with perfect lives, but that, at least, people feel pointed in the right direction and capable of overcoming life’s difficulties.


If you have much experience leading in church, you probably already know how important it is that members of your congregation or group invite others to participate. The statement in the Gallup study is: “In the last month, I have invited someone to participate in my congregation/parish.” The more invitations, the greater the health of your congregation or group.

This idea, of course, is supported by the existing research on the power of invitation, with the following as examples provided by

  • “Eighty-two percent of the unchurched are at least somewhat likely to attend church if invited.” –Dr. Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door
  • “Only two percent of church members invite an unchurched person to church. Ninety-eighty percent of church-goers never extend an invitation in a given year.” –Dr Thom Rainer, The Unchurched Next Door
  • “A study including more than 15,000 adults revealed that about two-thirds are willing to receive information about a local church from a family member and 56 percent from a friend or neighbor. The message is clear that the unchurched are open to conversations about church.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research
  • “Much to the surprise of the ‘Chicken Little’ crowd, people are still going to church. And more people would attend if given one simple thing—an invitation.” – Philip Nation, LifeWay Research

The Gallup question in play here is: “How many volunteer hours a week do you give to help and serve others in your community?”  There are two elements of leading serving that should have your attention: First is the idea of guiding those you lead into acts of service for people they don’t necessarily know. The second is to focus on expanding your members’ ministry beyond Sunday morning. Lean heavily into those two ideas in order to maximize the serving-engagement connection.


This was covered primarily in Part 3. The idea is to give members of your congregation or group as many opportunities and vehicles for giving as possible. (For instance, my church actually installed a giving kiosk in the lobby, which has both symbolic and practical significance for the giving element.)

Are there one or two initiatives you could implement based on the Gallup study that might make a difference as you lead?


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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