Pastors looking to improve their church mostly focus on assessing their church's mission and assessing their church's image in the community, according to a new survey.
According to The Barna Group's findings, 88 percent of pastors surveyed said they were definitely or probably going to "assess your church's vision and mission" and 72 percent said they were definitely or probably going to "assess your church's reputation in the community" in trying to improve their church.
David Kinnaman, who oversaw the research, remarked in a statement that pastors across the country are looking to adjust to the new realities of the culture.
"Most pastors are open to changing their ministries, yet many of them are struggling with the foundational questions of mission and vision," said Kinnaman.
"In an era of skepticism toward the institutional church, these leaders seem to recognize that the most effective churches are those that are aware of needs and active in their communities."
The nationwide study was conducted via telephone on a random sampling of 614 senior pastors of Protestant churches in the United States.
"Today's organizations face pressure to stay current, efficient and relevant. This is especially true for nonprofit organizations, like churches," reads an article on the Barna Group's website.
"The nationwide research project was conducted by asking pastors in what ways they are likely to improve their churches in the next year. Respondents were presented with 12 possible activities and asked to rate the priority of each activity."
Ranked lower on the list of 12 possible activities were "invest in technology and digital media," "work with an organization to help increase giving," and "find a search firm to help you hire the right staff person."
The report on the findings noted that rankings could vary depending on age of the senior pastor interviewed and size of church that pastor oversaw. Small churches were classified as having 100 or fewer adults, medium-sized churches were classified as having 100 to 250 adults, and large churches were classified as having 251 or more adults.
"[S]mall church pastors were less inclined to want community demographics, less focused on safety and security issues, less likely to change budgeting, and less inclined to invest in technology," reads the report.
Large churches "were more likely than average to want to measure demographics, revamp financial processes, and work with fundraising consultants."
Regarding age differences, pastors under the age of 45 were more likely to be "more interested than average in technology and digital media, while those between the ages of 45 and 63 expressed above-average interest in fundraising help."