Our team

The Jesus Journey Survey has been developed by a team of individuals from a wide variety of church backgrounds, both Protestant and Catholic. It has included academics in the field of social work and public policy, theologians, and those in pastoral leadership, including spiritual directors. Our team has also included professionals in graphics, marketing and Information Technology.

The survey was almost entirely developed over the course of three years on a volunteer basis – each professional offering their expertise as a gift to the local church. The survey was not created for profit..

The Jesus Journey will continue to operate on a non-profit basis. After basic operating expenses are met, all proceeds from the survey will be given away to designated charities.

The science

The questions and underlying dimensions of the Jesus Journey Survey were subjected to extensive pretesting and analysis.  An invited group of pastors, theologians, and survey specialists were initially gathered together to pray and reflect on the question: “What characteristics might we see as evidence that the people in our congregation are moving toward a life aligned with Jesus?”

We began by examining the attributes seen in Jesus as presented in the scriptural story. This led to an extensive list of the characteristics that we could expect to see developing in the lives of those on the journey toward and with Jesus. The attributes that were described included: 1) alignment of beliefs to the teachings of Jesus; 2) experiencing the inner presence of Jesus in one’s daily life; and 3) demonstrating actions that align with and flow out of the presence of Jesus in one’s life.

The next step of the process involved constructing a set of statements or questions that served as indicators of each attribute. These questions were pretested on multiple focus groups in the U.S. and Canada. This led to refinement of the questions and reducing the total number of questions to a more manageable number.  These questions were pretested and analyzed for their ability to detect differences in people at different points in their journeys with Jesus, or degree of Jesus centeredness in their life.

Along with some basic questions on personal demographics and participation in a church community, the Jesus Journey Survey questions were asked of a larger church congregation for the purposes of advanced statistical analysis. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to test the contribution of each question to the underlying dimensions on the survey. All questions contributed with a factor loading of .50 and above, indicating each question added value to the underlying dimension. A test for internal consistency of the 7 subscales was also conducted and indicated that the coefficient alpha on all scales was at or above .86, a high level of statistical reliability. A latent profile analysis procedure was used to assess the predictive validity of the Journey survey questions. In this analysis, there were statistically significant differences in the answers to the survey questions between people at different points in their spiritual maturity, their participation in church activities, and their engagement in faith community small groups. All of these measures confirmed the reliability, validity and value of the Jesus Journey survey questions and the underlying dimensions of the Jesus Journey.

Theology

A number of theologians from the USA and Canada contributed to the formation of the survey questions and the overall structure that the questions reflect.  While we have tried to avoid defining our belief questions too narrowly, our approach does reflect a narrative approach to theology. (For an introductory discussion of what this means, look at www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2016/01/narrative-theology-explained)

Of course the Bible tells its story in many different ways – our primary lens through which we have constructed this survey is the way of telling God’s Story that Jesus primarily used: the Kingdom of God.

We humbly acknowledge that not every church may find this survey a great fit for them. Because the theological lens that it assumes primarily reflects the theme of the Kingdom of God, some churches may find that the belief questions don’t sufficiently reinforce their existing theological framework.

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