While I’m admittedly becoming more of a data nerd, I’ve never been all that passionate about statistics. Numbers alone aren’t that exciting—the fun part of research for me is applying it to real-world situations. Because of that, one of the most life-giving parts of this work for me is sharing our data with churches and working with them to apply the results specifically to their congregation and unique context.
Earlier this month, I got the opportunity to do exactly that! Tyler at A Seattle Church (ASC) invited Mathea, Mac, and me to meet with their staff and young adult ministry team to present our findings. This experience allowed us to talk through what we’ve learned from our research, hear how our data matches what the team at ASC has personally experienced, explore the points where ASC expressed a different perspective than what we found in our data, and chat about what to research next. ASC’s enthusiasm, openness and feedback made this discussion rich and energizing. We left with a much deeper understanding of ASC’s context, and a plan to revise our surveys to a shortened version they can send out to those attending their church. This not only helps ASC understand their young adults, but also will make it so that any of the churches we work with can send out the revised surveys to collect responses from their congregation, making the data more relevant and representative than our initial sample.
This meeting reminded me of the greater purpose behind this research and helped me get to know the team at ASC a bit better. Also, since it was such a positive experience for our team and inspired some great ideas moving forward, our data team would like to extend the offer to any churches partnering with us to meet at your church and continue the conversation about our data and how it specifically applies to your context.