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Molly Caldwell
COMM 251, Spring 2009
Dr. Jennifer F. Wood

COMM 251
Research Report

This research report is a collection of data from a questionnaire, answered by
myself, as well as my two guests, following a visit to Celebrate Life Christian Church
(CLCC.) Through this report, I hope to convey both my feelings and my guests’
feelings on our visit, as well as some information on other local churches, and the
demographic that CLCC would like to concentrate their growth on, which is young
adults between the ages of 18-30. First of all, I would like to take a moment to thank
Pastor Steve and Pastor Andrew and everyone else from Celebrate Life Christian
Church for the opportunity to provide the information I have gathered to you.

Basic Questions from Dr. Wood

• What did I think when I entered the church?
I was thinking that there seemed to be a lot of cars in the parking lot. Also, I
was curious about the bus in the parking lot, and what it was used for. Upon
entering the actual building, I thought it was very nice to be greeted by a lot
of smiling faces, and by Pastor Steve himself! He definitely made our entire
team feel very welcome, very quickly. I also really liked the color schemes –
the purple was cheery and relaxing.
• What did I think when I exited the church?
I had a lot of ideas for how they could attract more people in my age
demographic! Also, I was thinking about how contemporary the service was,
from the modern praise band, to the usage of PowerPoint throughout the
sermon. I was thinking that it was unlike any church I had attended before!
• What were the primary strengths of the church?
I feel that the primary strength of this church is definitely its congregation.
EVERYONE was friendly and made an effort to meet us. Also, all of our
questions were welcomed – Pastor Steve was incredibly open to anything we
wanted to ask! I also think the praise band was fantastic. It made the
experience a lot more enjoyable for me! I feel that the music, as well as the
graphics on the screen gives the church a modern feeling that is definitely
attractive to younger people.
• What were the primary weaknesses of the church?
I really think the main weakness of the church is that up until Dr. Wood
introduced this assignment, I had never heard of CLCC. Now, granted, it is not
in my immediate area, but I have generally heard of many of the churches in
Lancaster County, at one point or another. I think that if you want to attract
more people my age, you are going to have to have more of a presence on
social networking sites (IE Facebook and My Space) and on college campuses!
• What would prevent me from going back?
First of all, my religious beliefs, or lack thereof. I do not identify as a Christian,
so church really does not interest me. Secondly, the distance from my home –
I live just outside Millersville, and spend a lot of time in Lancaster City, so
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there are plenty of churches that I can attend that are much closer to my

Questions and Answers – CLCC’s Questions

In this section, I will highlight both my answers and my guests’ answers to the
questions provided by CLCC.
Information on my guests: Guest #1 is a 72-year-old retiree. She identifies as a
Catholic, and regularly attends services at a traditional Catholic church. Guest #2
is a 22-year-old college student. She does not identify as a Christian, and does not
regularly attend any type of faith services.

• Question 1: As a first-time visitor, what did you like about CLCC? Be

specific by naming at least three things.
My answers: First of all, everyone was very friendly. Secondly, Pastor Steve
was very open to any questions that I had. Lastly, I really enjoyed the live
music, which I felt gave the church a very modern flair.
Guest #1: A heartfelt greeting from the pastor upon entering the building.
Also, others coming up, shaking hands, and welcoming our group. Finally,
excellent singers and musical accompaniment during the service.
Guest #2: I liked that everyone was welcoming and kind, because I felt
slightly less awkward. I liked that free tea and coffee was provided, because it
was chilly outside, and it felt good to warm up. I liked that we were given gift
bags, because it made me feel appreciated.

• Question 2: What suggestion(s) would you make about how to

actually get people to attend worship services? Please be very
My answer: Do a mail drop, inviting people to attend a service – feed them –
and ask members to bring people. Also, use Facebook and My Space – a great
way to reach out…for free!
Guest #1: Each weekend, ask four church members to each bring along one
newcomer to visit one of the services. Continue this practice until each
member (if able to do so) has invited someone.
Guest #2: My number one recommendation is to never pressure or push
anyone into something religious. Provide goods or services without any
religious undertones and offer contact information if anyone is interested in
more information. I recommend kindness for the sake of kindness.

• Question 3: What would it take to get you back to worship again at

CLCC? Please be honest and specific.
My answer: I don’t attend church, so I would not be interested in attending
Guest #1: This would be unlikely, as I attend another church, Sacred Heart.
Guest #2: It would need to be closer to campus, because it was not easy to
find. I would like to be able to sit and clap during the singing portion – I was
tired after a few songs.
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• Question 4: What makes you like a church? What turns you off about
a church? Please be specific.
My answer: I like churches that are open and affirming to ALL beliefs (or lack
thereof.) I also like churches that open their space to community groups
without an agenda. I do not like churches that are pushy with their beliefs,
ask for a lot of money, or discriminate against non-believers or other people
that may not fit their mold.
Guest #1: The attractions of a place of worship to me are: its pastor
(minister, priest, rabbi, etc); the teachings; the people; and the ambiance of
the place itself. There is some gut feeling or inner sense that tells you right
away whether you are in tune with the teachings of any religious community.
Guest #2: I like visually-appealing churches with Gothic architecture, big
stained-glass windows, candles burning, and a scent of incense in the air. I
like churches with food. I do not like churches that emphasize sinning and
going to hell. I do not like churches that force religion on you. I despise
churches that promote homophobia.

• Question 5: Have you attended church in the past? If so, what kind
of church? Are you regularly attending church now? If not, why not?
Please be honest and specific.
My answer: I sporadically attended an evangelical congregational church
that my father’s side of the family belonged to as a child, with my family. I do
not attend ANY church now, because of my own convictions. After careful
consideration and further education, I came to the conclusion that I am
agnostic. I feel that I do not know if there is any higher power out there, and
that it is not my place to say that I have a definite answer one way or the
Guest #1: Yes, and I currently attend mass at Sacred Heart Church in
Lancaster. I consider myself a very broadminded Catholic, because I am
interested in, and tolerant of, the beliefs of others.
Guest #2: I decline to answer this question.

Questions and Answers: Team Questions

In this section, I will highlight both my answers and my guests’ answers to the
questions generated by my team, prior to our visit.

Information on my guests: Guest #1 is a 72-year-old retiree. She identifies as a

Catholic, and regularly attends services at a traditional Catholic church. Guest #2
is a 22-year-old college student. She does not identify as a Christian, and does not
regularly attend any type of faith services.

• Question 1: What was the most memorable part of your visit to

My answer: The most memorable part of my visit was definitely how friendly
the people were – everyone was really nice!
Guest #1: The kindness of the people we encountered – and it was great to
see a number of young people involved.
Guest #2: The musicians were impressive.
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• Question #2: How did you feel about the overall atmosphere of the
church? Was it exclusive or inviting?
My answer: It was very inviting. I liked the informal dress code, as well as
the vestibule, which had very cheery (and informative) bulletin boards!
Guest #1: Inviting, as far as the congregation, and the music was a
tremendous asset.
Guest #2: The congregation went out of its way to make me feel welcome. It
felt very inviting.

• Question #3: What was your first impression when you saw the
building? What did you expect, and were your expectations met?
My answer: Actually, what I first noticed was the bus in the parking lot. I
thought that was very cool. I thought the building was very average-looking. I
expected a lot of singing, and possibly contemporary music, and my
expectations were definitely met in that aspect.
Guest #1: It did not resemble a traditional church, as I know it. Very different
inside, but sincerely presented.
Guest #2: The building looked like an old post office or municipal building.
Inside, the decorations were mostly deep blue and purple, colors that invoke
feelings of peace and calmness. The church was filled with uplifting images
suggesting hope. I was expecting a no-frills church where the emphasis was
on the faith, not the grandeur, which is basically what I got.

• Question #4: How would you rate your overall comfort in the church,
on a scale of one-10 (one – not comfortable at all; 10 – completely
My answer: I rate my experience as a six.
Guest #1: I rate my experience as a five.
Guest #2: I rate my experience as a six.

• Question #5: What did you like about the church staff? Were they
My answer: Everyone was very nice, happy that we were there, and eager
to answer any questions we had.
Guest #1: Very much so – Contemporary Christian worship is somewhat
foreign to me, but this was an excellent learning experience.
Guest #2: The staff was extremely welcoming. Everyone was very kind and
glad to have us as guests.

Additional Helpful Information

• I visited several area churches’ websites, to learn about their ministries for
young adults. Most churches with a similar contemporary format to CLCC
have groups for young adults. The following is a summary of their programs:
➢ Westminster Presbyterian: has a group for college-aged people, as
well as young singles. Also has a group for young married couples.
➢ Calvary Church: has a group for young adults, called C4.
➢ The Table Community Church: has a group for young adults, called
652. (www.tablechurch.com)
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➢ Pequea Brethren in Christ Church: has launched a group for young

adults, called Impact Community for Change.
➢ The Worship Center: has a group for young adults, known as The
Movement. (www.worshipcenter.org/movement)
All of these groups have a few things in common – they meet in more casual
settings, plan activities outside of church, such as skiing trips, and utilize
social networking tools, like Facebook and My Space.

• I visited the Barna Group’s website (www.barna.org), which has an article

on statistics about church attendance and avoidance. It states that there are
many more church options than just a conventional church service (house
churches, cyberchurches, etc) and that many people are involved in more
than one option, and classifies people into five categories:
➢ Unattached – People who had not attended either a conventional
church or an organic faith community (IE house church) during the
past year. Some of these people use religious media, but they have no
personal interaction with a regularly-convened faith community. This
segment represents one of every four (~23%) adults in America.
About one-third of the segment was people who had never attended a
church at any time in their life.
➢ Intermittents – These adults are “under-churched”, IE people who
had attended a conventional church or organic faith community
during the past year, but not during the past month. This is ~15% of
the population, or one of seven adults. About two-thirds of this group
had attended at least one church event in the past six months.
➢ Homebodies – People who had not attended a conventional church
during the past month, but had attended a meeting of a house church
➢ Blenders – Adults who had attended both a conventional church and
a house church during the past month. Most of these people attend a
conventional church as their primary church, but many are
experimenting with new forms of faith community. Blenders represent
~3% of the population.
➢ Conventionals – Adults who had attended a conventional church
during the past month, but not a house church. Almost three of every
five adults (~56%) fits this description. This participation includes
attending any number of conventional church events, including
weekend services, mid-week services, special events, or church-based
This report also includes suggestions on how a church like CLCC may be able
to reach those people that are considered “Unattached.” They say, compared
to regular churchgoers, the “Unattached” are:
➢ more likely to feel stressed out
➢ less likely to be concerned about the moral condition of the nation
➢ much less likely to believe they are making a positive difference in
the world
➢ less optimistic about the future
➢ more likely to describe their sociopolitical views as “mostly liberal”
than “mostly conservative”
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It goes on to give some statistics about the “Unattached”:

➢ Six out of ten adults in the Unattached category (~59%) consider
themselves to be Christian.
➢ ~17% of Unattached adults consider themselves to be born-again
➢ Many of the Unattached perform some sort of traditional faith
activity during a typical week – one-fifth (~19%) read the Bible, and
three out of every five (~62%) pray.
➢ They are more likely to be single, male, and to have been divorced
at some point. They are also less likely to be registered to vote,
which may indicate they feel less connected or influential in society.
You can read the full report online at http://www.barna.org/barna-

• I also read the summary report of the American Religious Identification

Survey (ARIS) for 2008. This report has many helpful statistics, as well as a
lot of pertinent information. According to this research,
➢ 86% of Americans identified as Christians in 1990. In 2008, the
percentage had dropped to 76%.
➢ Non-denominational churches (like CLCC) have been trending upward
since 2001, while more traditional denominations have been
➢ 70% of Americans believe in a personal God, ~12% of Americans are
atheist (no God) or agnostic (unsure or unknowable), and another 12%
are deistic (higher power, but no personal God.)
➢ ARIS considers non-denominational churches like CLCC to be Christian
Generic. The following statistics are all from the Christian Generic
 Gender Composition: 48% male; 52% female
 I just pulled out the statistics for the age group in which CLCC
would like to grow, which is 18-29. Nationally, this demographic
counts for 22% of the population. Within the Christian Generic
category, this demographic is 25% of the population.
 Marriage status: 23% are single/never married; 6% are
single/living with a partner; 53% are married; 12% are
divorced/separated; 5% are widowed; and 1% classified
themselves as “don’t know.”
 Racial/Ethnic Composition: I know that CLCC is interested in
being as diverse a church as it can possibly be, so these
statistics are of particular interest: White, Non-Hispanic: 15%;
Black, Non-Hispanic: 15%; Hispanic: 11%; and Asian: 10%.
 Percentage of College Graduates (age 25 and over): 26%
 Regional Self-Identification (from 2008 US Census Data): In this
category, a church like CLCC would fall under Other Christians.
This population accounts for 46% of the population in
Pennsylvania, and 36% of the population in the Middle Atlantic
This entire report can be accessed online at
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• I also used the combined Saturday edition of the Lancaster New

Era/Intelligencer Journal to find out some information about local
churches. Of the 177 churches listed,
➢ Six churches (~3%) are listed as non-denominational, like CLCC.
➢ The largest group of churches represented are Lutheran churches, and
there are 25 of them (~14%.)
➢ CLCC had two great articles on the front page of the religion section –
one about the new facilities, and one about their bus ministry.

Information About Celebrate Life Christian Church

• Location - CLCC is currently located in the Oregon Pike Business Park, on the
Oregon Pike, north of Lancaster city. They plan to relocate to their new
facility, which will be located nearby, in 2010. As CLCC wishes to grow in the
18-30 demographic, they may need to make their bus or other means of
transportation available, because many college students (especially those
that live on campus at F&M or Millersville) do not have cars on-campus.
• Facility – The church is located in a building that was not originally intended
to be used as a church. That being said, they have made the best of the
space they have available.
➢ Classrooms - they have five classrooms, for all age ranges.
➢ Bathrooms - the bathrooms are centrally located and easy to find.
➢ Sanctuary - the sanctuary can hold ~150 people comfortably, and has
chair seating, so it can be rearranged.
➢ Kitchen/Fellowship Area - The church does not have a large
kitchen/fellowship area; however, if the weather is suitable, they could
hold a fellowship event outside. In inclement weather, the sanctuary
could be rearranged to accommodate a fellowship event.
➢ Vestibule/Bulletin Boards - The vestibule contains numerous bulletin
boards, which give information on the church itself – activities,
missionaries, prayer requests, etc. All of the bulletin boards are very
visually appealing.
• Welcome Kit Effectiveness - I felt the welcome kit was a nice touch for
new visitors; however, I feel that there needs to be much more church-
oriented information. When I received the kit, I immediately looked inside for
a brochure on the church, with the pastors’ names, service times, and some
brief church information. I did not find one. I feel that the brochures really did
not have very much helpful information, as far as the non-service
programming goes, and there was no information about the children’s
ministry. I did like that there was the opportunity to give feedback, as well as
a card to register yourself for more information, if you so desire. I liked the
magnet, too, because if you put it on the refrigerator, you will think of your
experience at CLCC every time you see it.
• CLCC Members’ Personalities – I thought that everyone was very
welcoming, and very inclusive. I really liked the name tags – everyone called
me by name, which was very nice. I also thought it was very nice that
everyone made an effort to come up and greet our team – Pastor Taylor asked
everyone to come and greet us, the visitors, which was really nice. Everyone
was interested in our project, eager to answer any questions, and very
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• CLCC Church Personality – I found CLCC to be very laid-back in nature,

which was refreshing. I enjoyed the fact that I could wear jeans to the service
and not feel awkward about it. It is also cutting-edge in its use of PowerPoint
and video throughout the service, and I also thought the modern praise music
was great. I think, overall, it is very contemporary, casual, and friendly in
nature. Pastor Steve really makes everyone feel welcome, and you can tell
from the atmosphere that everyone enjoys being in his company.
• CLCC’s Current Age Makeup – I found there to be a wide age range at the
service I attended, from children to senior citizens. Most of the people that
attended the service I was at were probably in the 30-49 age range, but there
were quite a few people in the 18-29 age range, too. I would say the two
least-represented groups were children and people age 50 or above.
• CLCC’s Current Programming – CLCC currently has MANY programs,
➢ Youth Ministry – Extreme Teens Youth Group – meeting Sunday at 5
➢ Prayer Ministry – Corporate Prayer -5:30 PM (Saturday), 8:20 and
9:45 AM (Sunday); F.I.S.H. Team; Emphasized Prayer
➢ Day of Discovery Classes – Discovery 101 (Heart, vision, and
doctrine of CLCC – taught by Pastor Steve Taylor); Discovery 201
(Spiritual Gifts – taught by Jim McCall); Discovery 301 (Spiritual
Disciplines – taught by Dr. Jennifer Wood)
➢ Children’s Ministry – CelebrateKids – philosophy: We nurture and
teach through a Biblically imaginative environment that leads children
in the footsteps of Jesus. We guide them in the first steps on their
journey to become fully devoted followers of Christ.
➢ Women’s Ministry – Connecting Women – gather at events to bond
together in fellowship and love; invite women that do not attend CLCC
to form new relationships.
➢ Arts Ministry - it is a ministry that is designed to be fun and
spiritually uplifting for those volunteering, as well as the audience for
which we perform.
➢ Connecting Friends Ministry - Support events for CLCC through
setting up event, food preparing, clean up and tear down of events.
➢ Helping Hands Ministry - Provides various needs when a CLCC
family experience times of hardship.
➢ Impressions Ministry – fill the following positions: greeters, servers,
and information center volunteers.
➢ LIFE Groups – Learning God’s Words; Intimacy with God; Fellowship;
Evangelism – meet at different times throughout the week to
accommodate busy schedules – conduct Bible study and prayer.
➢ Worship Ministry – Praise Band opportunities, media tech
opportunities, arts opportunities
➢ Bus Ministry – Seeking to bring people to CLCC that otherwise may
not be able to get there.

Three Things That Will Be Helpful in Our Campaign

• Welcome Packet – helpful in learning about CLCC’s philosophies, so I could
get a general idea of what CLCC is all about.
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• Music Ministry – seeing the Praise Band helped give me some ideas for
outreach to the 18-29 demographic.
• Bus – the Bus Ministry will certainly be helpful in connecting with the college
population that does not have a car.

Three Ideas for Campaign Themes

• Growing and Giving Tree – Make a visual “tree” to measure growth. For
each additional person that is brought into CLCC, do a random act of
• Bible Study Breakfasts and Devotional Dinners – Have the youth serve
simple, inexpensive meals after the service on Saturday nights, where Pastor
Steve can deliver a less-formal, real-life applicable devotion.
• Building and Bus Outreach – make the building and bus available to
groups like Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, as legal ramifications allow.