Survey: Listening through Sermons

I wonder if you can help me

I am looking for volunteers to assist a research project that is part of my degree in Preaching at Spurgeon’s College, London. I will be preaching three sermons in the New Year to complete the series on the Book of Revelation that we started back in September. 

The study is designed to discover what ‘the listener’ hears in a sermon – which is not necessarily what the preacher intended. It is an exercise in feedback, but not on how the sermon went. Instead, this is a survey to record your feelings and reflections on what you think God may have been saying to you through it.

All too often, preachers are puzzled as to what message really comes across. This study is attempting to understand what a congregation really hears. The plan is that as many as possible might ‘sign up’ to the programme and agree to listen to the sermons. There will be one in January; one in February (split over two consecutive Sundays); and one in March. 

What am I to do?

You will receive a questionnaire and some tips to take some notes before the Sunday service. Please record some thoughts as you listen to the sermon – but don’t try to complete the questionnaire right away. Give it a day to reflect on your notes and thoughts and then answer the questions, which will seek your reflections and what you think God has been saying to you through each sermon. Dates for the sermons are:

17 January: Revelation 6-8 – Seven Seals are opened

14 & 21 February: Revelation 8-11 – Seven Trumpet Blasts are sounded 

14 March: Revelation 16 – Seven Bowls are emptied

If you miss a service, don’t worry, as they will all be on YouTube and you can catch up later. Each time you complete a questionnaire, please return a copy before the end of the week. This can either be by post (I will include a self-addressed envelope) or you can email it.  

It would be valuable to hear if there had been further thought or reaction that you may have developed afterwards, so you will be asked by email a week or so later if you have had any further thoughts or reflections to add to your original comments.

Confidentiality and Ethical Handling of Data

There will be no names recorded on the questionnaire, so that full confidentiality is guaranteed, and no participant will be able to be identified by any of the academic staff or others who might read the dissertation. Instead, every questionnaire will be coded and referred to by a letter or other code. Obviously, I will need to know who is responding and follow up the comments, but no personal data will be passed on, shared or otherwise distributed to any third party outside the church. It will not be seen by anyone inside the church apart from our own preaching team of Barry Davis and Mike Proudlock, who have both offered their assistance in the process. When the dissertation is completed, the church deacons will receive a summary of the overall findings and a short presentation will be given at a subsequent church meeting, again with full anonymity to all concerned.

Please be assured that all personal data and responses to the questionnaires or phone discussions will be destroyed after the dissertation has been submitted and approved to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations and ethical guidelines as supplied by the University of Manchester and Spurgeons College. 

What to do next?

Please complete the online form below to grant your permission to store and record your details, in time to distribute the questionnaires in advance of the first service on 17 January. 

As an incentive, our ABC Christmas Charity this year is Compassion UK. A donation of £10 will be made to the charity on behalf of each person who registers with the scheme.

If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line. I hope you feel able to engage with this survey and trust that the Lord will bless you in your listening, reflection, and response to His Word.

Yours in Christ,

Roy Collins

Amesbury Baptist Church

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