Results From Catholic Visitor Survey

Catholic ChurchA few years ago our teaching team was trying to understand the unique challenges a person with a Roman Catholic background has visiting a Protestant Church, particularly the church I serve.

So we asked visitors to CCV with a Catholic background to fill out a brief survey.

I thought you might find the results interesting and helpful…

How did you hear about CCV?

  1. Invitation to church
  2. Flyers/mailings
  3. Kid’s Camp
  4. Signs
  5. Saw church from highway 422

Describe your first visit. What were your initial thoughts and feelings?


  1. Liked sermon
  2. Felt at home immediately
  3. Liked Music
  4. Friendly people
  5. Liked children’s program


  1. Music too loud
  2. Non-traditional format

What made you come back?

  1. Sermon
  2. Children’s program
  3. Music
  4. Friendly people
  5. Felt at home
  6. Your pastor is so sexy (that wasn’t a real response, but that’s what people were thinking)

Why do Catholics have a hard time visiting and/or returning for a second visit?

  1. Lack of ritual
  2. Going against Catholic Church is going against God – afraid it is a sin
  3. Guilt
  4. Casual environment/building is not holy enough

What can we do to address the issues/concerns in question #4?

  1. Don’t do anything
  2. Have a class for Catholics (class? open house?)
  3. Explain Catholic Church teachings vs. Bible teachings
  4. Explain format of CCV
  5. Don’t criticize the RCC

Are there any special concerns Catholics have regarding their children attending CCV, and how can we address them?

  1. Children will not receive the sacraments, especially baptism
  2. Does CCV have a plan for teaching kids as they grow like CCD? If there’s no 1st communion, when can they get communion?

What is the single greatest fear Catholics have about leaving the Catholic church?

  1. Loss of salvation/hell
  2. Disapproval/disappointment of family/friends
  3. Guilt, fear of sinning
  4. Leaving the “majority” faith (you can go to any Catholic Church in the world and its identical)
  5. Loss of sacraments

What do you think?

Brian loves helping Christians live thoughtful, courageous lives. He's a popular blogger, author, and pastor at Christ's Church of the Valley in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

  • Brian Jones


  • Michael McCleary

    I converted from Protestantism to Catholicism and have felt only love and peace since being received into the Church,and for outdated laws I must admit that the fact Jesus condemns divorce in all four Gospels points to Catholicism as the only Christian faith that truly follows Christs commands.
    I had many doubts and questions when I was an Evangelical youth leader, and the more I studied the Bible the more it pointed to Rome. I did not want to become Catholic, but truly desired to follow Christ as He wished, and prayed in humility often “Where would you have me go?” and was as shocked as anyone that He lead me to His Church.

  • Jim Lange

    Great post! I am not Catholic but I love Catholics. I believe God is doing great things, at least in our community, by bringing Catholics and Protestants together. In my work in marketplace ministry, I see the results of your survey played out continually, especially the guilt about doing anything “non-Catholic” and being dis-loyal to their families. However, God IS doing a great work!

  • Leah Adams

    Brian, I have several friends who come from a Catholic background. The thing that they have voiced that they miss in a Christian church is the ceremony, for lack of a better word, that is found within the Catholic service. Overwhelmingly, the comment I hear in favor of a Christian/non-Catholic church is the encouragement to study the Bible for oneself. I have several friends from Catholic backgrounds who did not even own a Bible until they began attending a Christian/non-Catholic church. There was no encouragement for them to study the Bible and develop a personal relationship with Jesus which, for me, is a huge problem. I know there are many Catholics who walk closely with Jesus and so it is impossible to generalize much of the thoughts voiced here.

  • Brian Jones

    Understand Keith. I appreciate your spirit. And I certainly agree with you that there’s a tremendous amount of great things going on in the Catholic Church.

  • Keith OGrady

    Lets be fair and sincere to the Catholic Church as well. They have a target on there back which could be put on most. There just a easy target. They do great things. So If I come off strong than I apologize for my approach but not my faith in the Catholic Church. And I am sure she was speaking about her experience, as was I. Like I said this came across on Face Book and I happen to read it. Was not trying to upset anyone, just not a fan of bashing on the church. Does not matter if its one or thousand doing it.

  • Brian Jones

    Keith, I can’t speak for Debbie, but just from what she wrote I’m pretty sure she was just speaking about her experience, and not making a blanket assessment for all Catholics everywhere. Let’s be fair to her honest and sincere comments.

  • Keith OGrady

    That’s so strange Debbie. In 45 years of going to Catholic Churches not one time have I ever felt fear. Not one time have I ever felt someone was trying to put the fear of God in me. I never felt the bible and its teachings were outdated. What I find interesting is when I go with my wife to her non-denomination Christian church I think most are fake. I watch there actions and boy do they speak loud. You know in todays world I watch the Catholic church get beat up and then some how I get on this survey thru someone else and there it is. I have know idea what CCV is but I think after reading you comments I will just stick to going to the fear based outdated Catholic Church.

  • Brian Jones

    Jennifer your story is a common one. It doesn’t mean there aren’t great things about the Catholic Church and great people serving there. It usually just comes down to a hunger to study and obey the Bible and to know Jesus in a personal way.

  • Jennifer Brown

    I didnt necessarily go to church a lot as a kid but when i did go it was to my grandmothers Catholic church. to the point where I even wanted to be a Nun at one point. To make a long story short i lost my faith in pretty much everything and i even experimented with other religions because I had a severe adversion to Christianity. So when I met my husband me and him had a talk and he told me my issues were not with Christianity but with Catholcism and the things I had an issue with were not in fact mentioned in the bible but were things the Catholics put there. SO that discussion made me come to CCV with him and friends of his and Ive been coming since going on 2 years now.

  • Brian Jones

    Thank you Debbie!

  • Debbie Szabo

    Having been raisedCatholic for the 1st 18 years of my life I hve many comments about that church…to many for this comment. It’s a religion based on fear and complete acceptance of outdated laws.
    CCV welcomed my family without question. We are truly blessed that we found your “Kids Camp” about 8 years ago. We always get the message in you weekly sermons and always enjoy the guests sermons as well.
    I have many questions about faith and your church is helping me sort through my doubts. I am the quiet type and need no recognition for my thougts. Jst wanted to let you know how wonderful it has been for my family to have found your church. Thankyou Pastor Brian!