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APNC Survey 2016
Executive Summary
Responses received via online and paper survey from April 21, 2016 to May 10, 2016

The Associate Pastor Nominating Committee (APNC) would like to thank each of you who participated in last month's congregational survey. It is our hope that the survey will not only help us understand the needs of the congregation, but that it will invite each of us to prayerfully consider who we are as a church and how we are called individually and corporately to serve a God of mission.

We received 338 responses. The results of the multiple-choice portions of the survey are posted on our website for review. Individual comments will be kept confidential and will not be published. Over the coming weeks the APNC will be reflecting further your opinions and suggestions.

To summarize the multiple-choice portion of the survey, several key findings are evident:

Based on the responses to the survey, it appears the congregation as a whole desires a pastor who is Bible-based and Christ-centered; has strong interpersonal skills; is a “team player;” and has an ability to rally, organize, and execute.

Approximately half of all respondents felt the Associate Pastor needs to “explore, define, and preach a modern mission theology” and to “engage, inspire, and mobilize the congregation as a Church that is ‘sent out.’” Many respondents see the need for an Associate Pastor who will improve communication with the congregation. There is also a perceived need to better define our vision and role in the world/community.

Among the many challenges facing our Mission Outreach Department, respondents felt the greatest challenges were “poor level of engagement on the part the congregation” (50.6%); and “insufficient staffing” (43.4%). At the same time, respondents identified “effective and relevant outreach programs and events” (56.0%); a Christ-centered vision for missions (50.2%); the Mission Department’s new organization around themes of justice, poverty, oppression, and women (JPOW)(46.2%); and the Mission Outreach staff (31.5%) as the greatest strengths of missional engagement at First Pres.

While 73.3% of respondents indicated they were “interested” or “very interested” in the Mission Outreach Department, 29.1% of respondents indicated they were “not involved at all” with the department. Nearly 40% of respondents indicated they were unfamiliar with the work of the Mission Outreach Department.

Perhaps reflecting First Pres’ long history of engagement with the community and mission field, respondents indicated that it was “essential,” “very important,” or “important” that First Pres meet the needs of the UC Berkeley community (68.3%), the East Bay community (60.5%), the world (56.5%), and the City of Berkeley (48.0%). Despite the perceived need for First Pres to serve the University community, only 7% of survey respondents were between the ages of 18 and 30.

More than half (54.7%) of respondents indicated they were satisfied or very satisfied with JPOW mission partnerships, while 38.0% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with non-JPOW mission partnerships.

From the narrative comments on the survey, the APNC heard loud and clear that there remain significant concerns regarding First Pres’ financial health, staffing issues, and its positions relative to gender, sexuality, and marriage. We also heard passionate and conflicting views on the Mission Outreach Department’s organization around themes of justice, poverty, oppression, and women. These strong opposing views underscore the fact that First Pres embraces not only a diversity of racial, ethnic, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds, but more fundamentally a diversity of visions and opinions as well. This in turn underpins the need for an Associate Pastor who will embrace a diverse set of viewpoints and manage to shepherd a sometimes disparate community of believers as a unified flock.

If there is one thing that we learned from our survey, it is that our congregation cares deeply about missional engagement and about our walk together, particularly as we step together into the future seeking to answer God’s call for an Associate Pastor for Missional Engagement.

We hope you will continue to share your thoughts and prayers with the APNC as it enters into a period of discernment. Email us at

In Christ,

Katie Allen-Goebel
Douglas Chin
Karen Erickson, Chair
Monica Munger
Mindy Phillips
Phil Verinsky
Cathy Wolfenden