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Worship survey attracts high level of participation

Thank you to all who participated in the recent worship survey. Over eight hundred responses—both online and physical—were received, indicating that Lutheran worship practices are very important to people across the LCANZ. Valuable information has been obtained about a range of issues facing the LCANZ, not the least of which are considerations about online worship provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the next few weeks the research team at ALC will analyse the results and send a report to the Mission Directors and the Commission on Worship.

The results showed that participants valued sound biblical preaching, an understanding of Lutheran doctrine, and ministry that reflects a pastoral heart. It also showed that a Lutheran upbringing was not vital for those who feel a call to ministry. Nor do most people place a high value on technical capacity, being able to use the internet or being comfortable in front of a camera.

People noted that while convenience, comfort and the lack of travel time were benefits of online worship, the lack of morning tea, the inability to welcome guests and the difficulty of relating to others were among the less satisfactory elements of online worship. This suggests that worshipping in community is very important within the LCANZ. These results probably relate to the fact that many people reported no opportunity to congregate during or after online services.

In terms of preparing for services, the majority of people surveyed were aware of the LCANZ Worship Planning pages, and most reported them to be helpful and relatively easy to use. The survey also showed that sermons on this website provide a useful resource for lay leaders to use when a pastor is not available and that retired pastors are also an important support for congregations when the pastor is absent.

The ALC research team values every person that has taken time to fill out the survey and provided thoughtful responses. It is encouraging to hear perspectives from across the LCANZ and witness the clear enthusiasm for worship from across the breadth of the church. This allows the team to have confidence that a variety of voices has been heard and that there is a willingness to talk about the range of Lutheran worship practices in Australia and New Zealand.