Originally posted on Be Known for Something
Focus group questions can help prove your love for a church audience. To get to know your audience, focus groups are excellent. And, with an outside consultant facilitating, your groups will feel anonymous enough for participants to share genuine feelings.
Having conducted many focus groups over the years, there are 4 focus group questions that reveal a lot. Beware though, they often produce surprising unexpected answers. But you’ll want to hear them!
Once the Group is Assembled…
Assemble groups with something in common (age or gender is the easiest) but be vague why they’re assembled (like “pick their brains about church related issues”). After gaining trust and convincing them there’s no right or wrong answer, ask them these 4 focus group questions:
- Why did you decide to attend our church for the first time? You’ll be surprised. If you aren’t regularly controlling the answer to this question (telling them why they attend and the benefit of being part of your church), then you’ll be surprised at all the different reasons stated: “a friend invited me”, “it’s close to our house”, “the short services”, “their kids liked the kid’s ministry”, or “I liked the Pastor’s style”. These are difficult to attract others for the same reason. And with many personal reasons, it’s difficult to be known for all of them.
- Do you go to our church website regularly? The hub of your church communication: of course they take a look regularly! Nope. It’s often a question with blank stares. No one wants to answer because they’re scared they’ll get a follow-up question about content (without an answer). Often, even church staff don’t visit the church website often! This all should change. So, give them reasons to go! Get everyone to rely on it and trust the easiness of getting information on it. It’s better than a printed bulletin! If it’s not, fix it.
- Have you considered leaving our church? Why? The answer, if they fully trust it won’t get back to leadership, is very surprising. Much like the large multitude quitting jobs in the past year, many think there’s something better in another church. And they’re very close to trying another church in your area. Or online. How do you counter this? Regularly remind them of the benefits of attending your church. How local is better (make sure it is). And how your ministries need their support.
- What are we known for in the community? Another blank stare question. Many members, after several seconds of soul searching, will come up with something like “everyone knows us for selling Halloween pumpkins”, “for helping clean up after storms”, or “the big church on the corner”. It’s rare that it’s your vision, mission, or values. No, instead, you need a thread that states and controls benefits throughout your ministries. And quickly connects to your audience’s needs. Something that’s simple, easily stated, and actually useable by your congregation.
You need to discover your church branding thread! And that starts by understanding your audience. Through focus groups.