One of the Most Revealing Questions to Ask Your Church

Sam Rainer

September 22, 2019

Through Church Answers, I receive a lot of questions about churches. I also ask a lot of questions when I’m consulting and coaching. Over the years, I’ve refined the types of questions I ask and the way I ask questions. Some questions don’t elicit much of a response. Other questions cause people to pause and think. Then there are the questions that get people talking.

Some of the best learning experiences as a leader come when you ask a good question and listen. After twenty years of researching churches, I’ve found one question more than any other seems to get people talking.

“What gets your church most excited?”

Or if you want a personal perspective, “What gets you most excited about your church?”

The question is not threatening because it gives people a chance to offer a positive answer. At the same time, the question narrows potential responses to the most exciting part about their church. It forces an answer into one reply.

The answer reveals passion. The term exciting implies enthusiasm. When people reply about what gets them excited, you have an idea of what drives their passion. I’ve heard a wide range of answers—from theology to programs to buildings to mission to preaching. Rarely are people negative about their passions, so their answers reveal what they feel is most positive about their church.

The answer reveals priority. What is exciting is often a priority. If you are passionate about something, then you often elevate it above other things.

The answer reveals perspective. Is their excitement in the past? The present? Or the future? Excitement in the past usually points to a lack of excitement in the present. Excitement in the future could indicate a person perceives the church moving in a positive direction, or it could indicate they are hopeful things will change soon.

The answer reveals personality. Each church has a different personality. Some churches are more extroverted than others, and new people are exciting to the congregants. Some churches are more thoughtful, and people get excited about caring for others. Some churches are generous, and there is excitement around giving to God’s kingdom. The excitement of a church is often an indicator of the personality of a church.

One question will not uncover every important part of a church. But asking about what gets people excited reveals a lot of information in a non-threatening way. It’s one of the more common questions I ask in my consultations and in even in my own church. I enjoy hearing the different perspectives in what is almost always a pleasant and positive conversation. 

2 comments on “One of the Most Revealing Questions to Ask Your Church”

  1. Rich says:

    This article has haunted me for hours. I say that because if I’m being honest it scares me to confront these two questions. These days I’m just another lay preacher, so please keep that in mind as I respond.

    To answer the first, what gets my church the most excited, it would be their weekly mid morning get together that culminates in a carry in lunch. At least, that’s the most talked about event around the church. It’s basically a large % of the retired members along with the pastor that attend.

    The second one is very difficult to answer because I cannot honestly say that anything about my church excites me. Yes, I realize how horrible that sounds, and I am ashamed to even say it. What I like most about my church is the sweet older saints that I have become acquainted with over the past three years. I just can’t think of something that qualifies as ‘excited’. Sorry. Maybe I should not have responded?

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