Most of us are used to reading profiles on LinkedIn or short bios on websites. We appreciate understanding someone’s story and knowing them better. It’s the same for a community. Last November, we conducted an anonymous survey of St Andrew’s, to get to know our community better. What did we find out?
On a surface level, we found out basic demographic details. St Andrew’s contains many different nationalities, and around 62% of people speak Cantonese as their first language. People from all around Hong Kong attend St Andrew’s, with the largest proportion living in the Kowloon area (50%). Significantly, 23% of respondents have attended St Andrew’s for less than a year, and 40% for 3 years or less. This tells us that we get lots of new people visiting our services and they often choose to make St Andrew’s their church home. The way people find out about our church is 35% by recommendation, 26% through personal invitation, and 25% through walking by our site. Make sure you keep inviting people to visit us!
Going a little deeper, 37% of our adult community attend a Growth Group, 32% are involved in serving, and 40% are involved in regular giving to our ministries. Whilst these figures have grown since our last church survey in 2018, we’d love for them to increase.
The figure that I was most interested in was how many of you indicated that you felt you are spiritually growing. That figure was 58%. My prayer is that this figure reaches 100%. Importantly, the data also indicated what makes spiritual growth more likely. The experience of spiritual growth reached 76% for those attending a Growth Group, and 85% for those involved in volunteering.
Of course, these figures aren’t really a surprise. If you go to the doctor saying that you feel unwell, the doctor will ask you some basic diagnostic questions: “How much are you sleeping? Are you exercising? What are your eating habits?”. Good physical health is normally dependent on the right habits. The same thing applies to good spiritual health: we need to have the right habits.
The New Testament gives us a picture of an intimately connected Christian community; people who were serving each other, offering practical support, and learning together; communities with multiple connection points during the week, deeply involved with one another, sharing the ups and downs of life. Deep community is the context of spiritual growth.
Let me share a suspicion. Most of us crave this type of community. We know that it’s good for us. But we also know that it’s costly. It costs us time, convenience, and energy. So, we hold back. May I warmly encourage you: don’t hold back. Know the joy of deep connection with other Christians, as God transforms you to be more like Jesus.