The summary may be summarized thusly:
The type of survey used by REVEAL has its uses, but it’s not well suited for evaluating the effectiveness of a complex institution like a church. It’s not that REVEAL’s findings are wrong, rather they are highly inconclusive. In fact, if I had to make a judgment, I would interpret the findings as generally supportive of what Willow Creek is already doing.
Technically, REVEAL used a cross-sectional survey with no comparison group and no randomization. This means they surveyed people once during a given period of time—it's like taking a snapshot of a group of people. It’s the tongue depressor of survey methodology—a good place to start, but not a very powerful tool. While this type of survey does a good job in describing peoples’ characteristics, it doesn’t explain them. It describes “what” but doesn’t explain “why.”
And most of us know that "why" question is a big one. The natural answer in the context of the REVEAL churches appears to be "because there is a deficiency in our programming somewhere."
Jonathan Leeman is reviewing the REVEAL book over at Church Matters.
Part One of his survey is here. You'll have to work backwards, blog-style, as he is currently on Part Five.
Leeman is the Director of Communications for the Mark Dever-founded 9 Marks Ministries, one of the most influential and important gospel-driven church resource organizations in the nation.
But some of what Leeman says about REVEAL may surprise you.
Returning to "Reveal"
You Can't Program Discipleship