Christmas 2010 Evangelization Exchange – Survey

The following are excerpts from the Executive Summary report from the 2010 PNCEA Outreach Survey in which many of our EE readers participated. The survey was conducted to assist us in reaching out to you and to help us understand more clearly parish needs regarding evangelization.

Excerpts from the Executive Summary of the
2010 PNCEA Outreach Survey Report


1. Evangelization efforts are taking place in nearly every parish surveyed, and evangelization activities are expected to increase at the parish level in the near future.

The vast majority (nearly 90%) of respondents reported that their parishes were involved in at least some evangelization efforts. In addition, approximately one-half of the parishes have an evangelization team or committee set up. Even parishes that report little to no evangelization involvement sometimes have an evangelization team or committee.

Although most respondents report that evangelization is not a primary focus of their parish, most also expect to increase their evangelization efforts over the next two-three years. This anticipated increase is true on both the parish and the personal level. This suggests that evangelization is a part of almost every parish’s mission, and that the basic infrastructure to support evangelization is in place in many parishes, even when there is little actual reported activity. The anticipated increase in evangelization activities indicates that many parishes would like to make evangelization a greater focus of their outreach efforts.

2. Challenges to successful evangelization programs are multi-dimensional, and are both systemic and resource-based.


The challenges cited by survey respondents as barriers to successful evangelization efforts are multi-dimensional, with most respondents citing multiple issues. The most significant barriers are systemic. When asked to specify the single most significant challenge to successful evangelization efforts in their parish, respondents named a lack of volunteers to support evangelization efforts, closely followed by a lack of focus or clear direction in evangelization activities and the feeling that evangelization is not a high priority in their parish.

Among respondents who report limited to no evangelization activities in their parish, the fact that evangelization is not a high priority, and lack of support from parish leadership are most often seen as the primary challenges to a successful evangelization program.

The data suggests that tools, resources, and programs are needed that promote evangelization not only as an essential parish mission, but also as a parish and a personal ministry. Resources are also needed to provide a clear plan that parishes can follow to focus and clarify their evangelization efforts.

3. There is great interest in effective resources to assist in parish evangelization efforts.

Respondents to the PNCEA 2010 Evangelization Outreach Survey are actively searching for information about evangelization resources, and are getting this information from a wide variety of sources. Although PNCEA by far is the most often cited resource when respondents were asked to indicate where they turn for evangelization resources and support, significant numbers of respondents also report looking to (arch)diocesan resources, Internet searches, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, among numerous other sources.

PNCEA constituents are extraordinarily interested in learning more about PNCEA and its resources. A surprisingly large majority of respondents requested more information and provided contact information so that the Association could follow up with them — a rate more than twice as high as is usually seen in response to this type of question.

And, while many respondents report that they are not familiar with specific PNCEA products and services, unusually high percentages of respondents indicate that they want to change this situation by learning more about most PNCEA products. This is especially true of Seeking Christ, Catholic Faith Inventory, Catholics Reaching Out, and Invite! (Respondents are most familiar with and likely to have used Awakening Faith, PNCEA Training Institute Online, and Evangelization Exchange.)

4. PNCEA is an important and well-known source for Catholic evangelization resources.

Large majorities of PNCEA’s constituents report that they are familiar with the Association. They feel that they understand PNCEA’s mission and role, and that the current mission statement accurately describes both.

Strong majorities feel that PNCEA’s mission and role are relevant to their parish and that PNCEA resources are valuable to their parish needs. Most also agree that PNCEA fulfills a unique role that no other organization addresses, and that the Association’s products are both affordable and a good value. When asked to describe PNCEA’s resources in their own words, “good,” “great,” or “excellent,” were among the most frequently used.

PNCEA constituents want the Association to provide a broad range of products and services. There was almost equal interest in having PNCEA provide: more materials to help parish staff/leadership with evangelization activities; additional resources to distribute to seekers looking for information about the Catholic faith; and resources that will help the parish community raise awareness of evangelization overall.