This Sunday morning Brad Pistole and I will discuss the Congregational Family Needs Analysis. The elders request everyone to fill one out the following Sunday (October 6). [Yes, the analysis will be available to those who cannot be here October 6.] It is totally anonymous. The only information about your person requested is your age group (a multiple choice request). It is intentionally anonymous so each person can express himself or herself freely and honestly.

It has twenty-five (25) questions. Twenty-four (24) are multiple choice questions. The last question: "Additional comments." Many should complete the survey in less than 20 minutes.

The basic objective is to gather information that will assist the elders and staff. It will help us address the spiritual needs of more people as classes, support groups, special events, etc., are planned. Without this information, we often plan on the basis of "what we think your spiritual needs are" rather than what you know your spiritual needs to be.

Often you are challenged to realize that members of this congregation have many differing spiritual needs. While all Christians have some similar needs (repentance, increasing faith, greater commitment and devotion, etc.), most Christians have needs unique to his or her situation. The combination of what is happening in one's family; among one's peers; in one's work; in one's educational process; in one's severest temptations; in one's greatest discouragements; in one's most acute disappointments; in one's harshest trials; and in one's greatest fears make each of us unique.

What may be of powerful encouragement to one Christian may be meaningless to another Christian. What may powerfully motivate one Christian may leave another Christian unmoved. Spiritual maturity in Christ follows many paths. This information will help us improve the encouragement given each baptized believer as he or she travels his or her path. We want each of us to be closer to God a year from now than we are at this moment--regardless of how close to God each of us is now.

With a dialogue method, Brad and I will seek to help you memorably focus on the importance of the Congregational Family Needs Analysis. Jesus taught Jews and Samaritans. Paul taught Jews and Gentiles. Many of the early evangelists taught those who worshipped God and taught those who worshipped idols. The paths to faith in Jesus Christ often required different routes. Want a biblical example? Read the sermon in Acts 2 and the sermon in Acts 17. Note the differences in preaching to a Jewish audience and an audience who worshipped the gods.

God's Christ is adequate for all groups, though each group is different. Help us plan for God's Christ to meet your spiritual needs.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 29 September 2002

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