Frequently Asked Questions
What's the early history of REVEAL?
In 2004, key leaders at Willow Creek Community Church connected with Eric Arnson,
the founder and director of ORIGINATE, a cutting edge research and strategy consulting
firm. While meeting together, God revealed in their hearts a new vision about spiritual
development. Cally Parkinson, Greg Hawkins, and Eric Arnson collaborated to write
Reveal: Where Are You?, which presents REVEAL's approach, key findings, and
heart for the church. As the number of churches involved with REVEAL and the Spiritual
Life Survey grew, further research and continued vision produced the second REVEAL
book, Follow Me, which picks up where Reveal left off, focusing on movement
and growth along the spiritual journey.
What is REVEAL's research approach and
REVEAL's main approach focuses on three key areas and questions related to those
- Segments: What are the different groups/segments of people the church might
be looking to serve?
- Needs: What spiritual growth needs are being met, not being met well or not
being met at all for each segment?
- Drivers/Barriers: What are the drivers of spiritual growth, and what are
the barriers to spiritual growth?
These three areas provide the framework around which REVEAL's collected information
REVEAL employs both types of research methodology: qualitative (gathering
insights) and quantitative (establishing statistical reliability) research.
Where the qualitative method is typically a one-on-one process between a researcher
and an individual, the quantitative approach utilizes detailed questionnaires that
are distributed to large numbers of people. These two methods combine to provide
an incredibly reliable pool of information. Once data is received via this process,
it is then analyzed. REVEAL uses three common and extremely complementary analysis
techniques: correlation analysis, discriminate analysis, and regression analysis.
Willow Creek Community Church's initial research, as well as the continuing research
involving hundreds of other churches, used these same research and analytical methods.
Eager for more?
You may still have unique and important questions about the REVEAL research process
Click here to download a detailed, in-depth report (PDF).
Who are the churches that are involved with REVEAL?
The hundreds of churches surveyed where chosen to specifically reflect a diversity
of church models, congregations, and sizes. These include but are not limited to:
mainstream denominations, traditional Sunday-school model churches, African-American
churches, mission-focused churches, international churches, and churches representing
a wide range of geographies and styles. A national demographic report from August 2009 shows the participation
percentages that are continuing to grow with each passing month.
Results demonstrate that REVEAL's four segments exist across multiple church model/style/size
alternatives, which makes the Spiritual Life Survey a radically telling and relevant
tool for spiritual assessment and transformation that can apply in any church context.
Spiritual Life Survey
Can we have the survey open longer than two weeks?
We limit the survey to two weeks because based on our experience most of those who
respond do so within the first few days that they become aware of it.
Who will see our survey results?
Only five people on the REVEAL team have access to church reports and we treat your
information as highly confidential. No one outside of the REVEAL team will see your
results without your permission. The report for your church will be emailed to the
Will I see survey results from individuals in my congregation?
No. Your congregation’s responses are collected anonymously by an independent
Do you provide any kind of survey helpline or customer assistance?
We will equip you to be able to respond to issues. For major technical problems
or questions, you can call 224.512.1933 or email for assistance.
What happens if we don’t achieve a 20% response rate or for smaller churches
(under 400) at least 100 responses?
As long as we receive 30 responses, we will generate a report. However, we will
recommend caution regarding taking action based on findings from response rates
lower than 20% or, in the case of smaller churches, based on fewer than 100 responses.
Does a church have to be a certain size in order to take the survey?
We prefer to field the survey with congregations no smaller than 150.
Will we get access to the raw data from the survey?
We do not make available the raw data from the survey. However we provide a comprehensive
appendix in addition to the REVEAL church report. Between the appendix and the report,
you’ll receive all significant data on your church.
How can I get a sense about what happens in one of these workshops?
There is a short 2-minute demonstration video you can watch at
How many people can attend each workshop?
Each workshop is designed for 9 to 24 participants.
How do I get the workshop material?
All workshop materials (templates, facilitator guide, videos, devotionals, and participant
workbook) are available online. Download
the files and print them.
These templates are big. What is the best way to print them?
These templates should be printed on 3’x4’ paper. These can be printed
in-house on a plotter or through a third party printing service such as FedEx Office.
What if I cannot print the templates in-house or find a local printer?
If you would rather not handle the printing of these files yourself, the WCA has
an exclusive agreement with Thomas Reprographics to print these at an additional
cost to you. To order your paper copies, please call #972-697-7239 and ask for Bob
What if I need additional coaching during all of this?
This program is designed to be self-guided. However, additional coaching and guidance
is a great benefit for some groups. We have partnered with a number of consultants
to provide whatever level of assistance you need. We are actively certifying new
partners on the REVEAL experience on a regular basis. Contact Cally Parkinson at
#224-512-1004 for the most up-todate list.
How can we be sure that we take action on our work?
This is a great question! So often initiatives wind up gathering dust because they
don’t get implemented. That’s why Workshop #4 is so important. This
workshop is specially designed for teams who are responsible for making things happen.
It helps them create an action plan around what it’s going to take to implement
their initiative successfully. The process helps them identify barriers to success
and the resources they need to overcome the barriers.
In fact, you can look at Workshop #4 as a bonus. Its facilitator guide and templates
can work for teams charged with implementing actions beyond the scope of REVEALWORKS,
like creating a new children’s ministry strategy or even repaving the parking
lot! It’s useful anytime you have a team responsible for taking an idea from
vision to reality.
Wave-to-Wave Survey Tracking Report
What if I want to field the survey sooner than once every two years?
While we recommend waiting to field the survey once every two years the decision
as to when to field subsequent survey waves is totally up to you. It is just that
our experience shows us that it usually takes time for any changes you implement
to begin to have an impact on people's lives.
What additional information will I learn from the tracking report?
The tracking report is intended to add to the information you are receiving by highlighting
meaningful differences from one wave of the survey to the next. It is not intended
to replace your standard summary report but provide you with a quick overview of
any changes that have occurred on the key measures in the survey.
If we have completed the survey three or more times what is being compared in the
The tracking report is always comparing the two most recent waves of the survey.
So for example, if you have taken the survey three times the tracking report will
highlight meaningful differences on key measures between wave 2 and wave 3.
How are you defining a meaningful change from one wave to the next?
We define a meaningful change as a change of one-half of a standard deviation from
one wave to the next. Standard deviation is a unit of measure commonly used in statistics.
One use of this statistic is to measure change over time. The standard deviations
used to define meaningful change in this report come from the pooled data in our
comparative database of churches who have taken the REVEAL survey since August 2008.