News and Articles

26 November 2020

Introducing the Church Family Barometer

Communications Team
Hello church family

For many of us, 2020 has been a year of finding new ways to maintain relationships, as social distancing rules evolve and lockdowns come and go. As part of our response, we’re trialling a short weekly survey, asking people how ‘connected’ they feel to the church family.

Words of the year

Faced with ‘Covid-19’, ‘WFH’, ‘lockdown’, ‘support bubbles’ and more, the Oxford English Dictionary lexicographers who choose the Word of The Year have thrown in the towel, admitting: “2020 is a year which cannot be neatly accommodated in one single ‘word of the year’”.

However new and complex the language, ‘disconnection’ is a clear theme in the OED’s analysis. ‘Remote’ and ‘remotely’ have grown more than 300% since March. ‘Social distancing’ and ‘self isolation’ have likewise surged in use.

But as well as loss of connection and distance, more hopeful terms have emerged that describe maintaining or re-establishing connections, like ‘support bubbles’ and ‘Zoom-friendly’.

‘Hello church family!’

Our relationships within the church family have undergone the same experience of disconnection and reconnection. While we haven’t been able to physically meet together as a whole congregation, we have found new ways to connect: small groups in gardens, Zoom conversations, the Facebook Digital Community or watching YouTube services together.

It’s great that some people are able to reconnect in these ways, but we know that not everyone can. And it can be difficult for any of us to know how connected people feel.

So to get a sense of this, we’re going to try asking people the same simple question each week:

“How connected do you feel to Above Bar Church this week?”

The church family barometer

We’re calling this one-question survey the Church Family Barometer. Like a barometer, the idea is to anticipate change.

We’re asking a single question to make it quick to respond to. As you answer, you might want to reflect on who you have been in contact with this week (e.g. friends at church, your home group, wider church family), and how you’ve been in contact (e.g. phone calls, watching services, chatting online).

The barometer is anonymous, and (for now) the same question will be asked each week. Please do respond each week, but not more than once each week! You could choose to always respond on Friday, for example.

What’s it for?

Unlike previous surveys, the idea of the barometer isn’t to assess support within the church family for a particular course of action, but to build a sense of ‘how the church family is doing’ over time, especially as the rules relating to Covid-19 rules continue to fluctuate. The barometer could provide useful context that helps inform some of the decisions the church’s leaders are taking each week.

This is an experiment, so the barometer might evolve over time – and might no longer prove useful.

But we hope it might act a bit like a proxy for the atmosphere during a Sunday service: something that’s much easier to judge during a packed auditorium than a broadcast YouTube service!

You can find the barometer here:



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