Survey findings reveal how Salvos are ‘mobilising’ around the territory
BY ANTHONY CASTLE
Salvos across the country were asked to complete a 10-question survey about faith and connection last July.
The Faith, People and Connection survey, formerly known as the Connecting People questionnaire, was developed to understand how people participating in The Salvation Army faith communities connected to and engaged in mission.
Belinda Hendrickson is the Research Analyst for the Policy, Research and Social Justice department and project-managed the day-to-day process of information gathering.
“This year, we not only focused on the flagship measures, but we also utilised the survey to capture the faith pathways of our faith community attendees,” Belinda explains. “We utilised the survey to really look at the connection points, faith pathways, and how Salvos were mobilising.
The survey was initiated in 2021 by the Mission Support Team and developed with the help of the Research and Outcomes Measurement team. In 2023, leadership identified the need for capturing additional information around faith pathways and mobilising Salvos. The information was gathered from 740 participants from every state and territory.
“The profile of many respondents could be considered as regular attendees of corps and faith communities, particularly when you start seeing the number of faith activities they were attending in a week,” Belinda says.
“We also see this in the information that we received about whether they had attended another faith community prior to attending the Salvos faith community; a large proportion of people reported they had been attending their entire life.”
The survey showed that 84 per cent of respondents attended five or more faith activities, and 86 per cent took part in weekly worship services or prayer. The data also revealed that 63 per cent have never attended another faith community before The Salvation Army, which includes 51 per cent who have come to The Salvation Army for most/all their life. While some of these corps’ members have been at the Salvos their whole lives, they are connecting with a diverse set of people in mission.
“The survey gives us a profile of our corps members and the ways people connect and grow in faith.”
“We noticed for some people who volunteered, it didn’t matter if they were agnostic, atheist, or had other spiritual alignment,” says Belinda. “They were attracted by the community engagement of The Salvation Army. There was a diverse group of people who were perhaps attracted to ideas like social justice where The Salvation Army’s values are a connection point.”
The Faith, People, and Connection survey reveals that 75 per cent of respondents have shared their Christian faith with another person, not at a Salvos centre, and 54 per cent building relationships with community members at a church-based ministry.
Salvos also engage in supporting those in need, with 39 per cent serving meals or handing out goods to community members at a Salvos centre. The Faith, People, and Connection captures how and why people are connecting into faith communities, how they are engaging with mission, and the reasons why.
“We investigated the core aspects of our Salvos faith communities, examining their purpose and level of engagement in mission activities – considering both frequency and locations," Belinda says. “The survey gives us a profile of our corps members and the ways people connect and grow in faith.”
For more information, consider the Faith, People and Connection Survey summary and the Flagship Measures 2023 Report. The next Faith, People, and Connection survey will likely occur in another two to three years.