Focus Groups Are More Than Just Another Meeting

By: Russell Floyd

Abstract CrossCampaigns conducted by James D. Klote & Associates consists of two distinct phases: Readiness Assessment Phase, followed by the Capital Campaign Phase. The results of the second phase are highly dependent on successfully conducting the Readiness Assessment Phase. The significance of the Readiness Assessment phase cannot be overstated.

The Focus Group begins with church leaders presenting the proposed plans to the entire congregation. The exercise seeks to gain the perspective of members regarding the relative priorities of the plans and to gauge the level of financial and volunteer support to execute the plans. Focus Groups convey the larger macro vision, inviting micro input from each attendee. Yet, Focus Groups are not just necessary practical tools, they are also a vehicle that animates the spiritual life of a congregation.

A deep flowing stream runs below well attended Focus Groups, which make these conversations holy. People tell inspiring stories, recall sacred memories, and share profound hopes, deepening the church’s sense of purpose and the people’s relationship with God. Focus Groups, at their best, not only increase people’s understanding of the proposed plan; but they discern the heart-felt aspirations of the greater body. Focus Groups that are saturated with sacredness throughout the proceedings strengthen people’s faith, paving the way for real growth and/or change in the church.

Though the holy conversation may take a multitude of shapes and directions, at their heart, first-rate Focus Groups:

1. Help a church pay proper attention to what is crucial: There are many things a church could talk about as it plans. Well facilitated Focus Groups enables the Body to hear and heed to what is most important in the life of the church.

2. Aid leaders in holding proper tension between purpose and relationship: Congregations can be so relational they forget the primary reasons for existence. Well conducted Focus Groups help church members keep their eye on the greater purpose, while holding onto long standing relationships in healthy ways.

3. Stands with all persons within the larger community: Various constituencies will sincerely compete for their preferred agenda. Focus Group keeps the purpose clear, making it is easier to promote unity among diverse constituencies.

Focus Groups are holy conversations among multiple partners. Focus Groups are the Klote way of asking important and appropriate questions in a way that allows all parties in the conversation to be as authentic as possible. Authentic heart felt dialogue is always holy, making the Focus Group a sacred experience.

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