Ray Bakke Centre for Urban Transformation, Bethel Bible Seminary
Christian Communications Ltd.
CC Leadership Development Institute Ltd.

December 2019

Churches in Hong Kong have been facing much challenges in the social movement regarding the Extradition Bill amendment since June 2019. In September 2019, we conducted a first stage research through qualitative focus groups with pastors around the city to understand the challenges churches and pastors face. In order to look into the wider picture of how church and believers are facing this movement, we conducted a second stage research through quantitative online survey in October 2019. The survey aimed to understand churches’ response, believers’ expectation towards churches’ reaction and their personal response in this movement. The online survey was sent out during 10-24 October through seminary, Christian organizations and personal network. We received 3,781 valid responses, about 80% of them are regular church attendees, 8% are pastors and remaining about 10% are dechurched believers or those who do not go to church regularly.

Background of Survey Respondents

(Does not reflect that actual landscape of overall Hong Kong believers’ background)

Most of our respondents from this online survey are pro-democratic. Taking reference to public opinion survey done by MingPao and CUHK in September 2019, about 15% are radical democrats, 36% are moderate democrats, 41% are centrists/no political affiliation, and pro-establishment are 7%.

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**Does not reflect actual landscape of overall Hong Kong believers’ background

Participants from this survey are mostly younger believers, with 77% who are under 49 years old. Taking reference to the 2014 Church Census by HK Church Renewal Movement, about 40% of church attendees are aged 15-44.

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**Does not reflect actual landscape of overall Hong Kong believers’ background

Theme 1: How did our respondents’ churches react to the movement?

Looking at the responses from regular church attendees and pastors, the most frequent response of their churches regarding this social movement include holding prayer meetings, discussing and sharing in fellowship and small groups, and preaching sermon messages that respond to the social movement and teaching believers how to respond.

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Theme 2: Respondents’ Expectation towards Churches’ response in the social movement

In this survey, we also hope to understand respondents’ expectation towards’ churches’ response in the social movement. The results show that Christian respondents and pastors mostly hope for church to hold prayer meetings and offer counselling services.

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Comparing the difference between expectation and actual church responses, we found that the largest gaps are found in the below items:

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Theme 3: Respondents’ level of satisfaction towards their churches’ responses

In the survey, respondents were invited to rate their level of satisfaction towards churches’ responses in this movement. We hope to understand and measure whether respondents consider churches’ responses to be sufficient.

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Theme 4: Respondents’ Personal Responses

Respondents’ personal responses towards social movement can be categorized into vertical (towards God) and horizontal (towards Community) level, and the most popular responses are prayers and joining online petition.

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Analysis of Results

We have conducted analysis to the results above and came up with the below findings:

Regarding personal response to the movement, those who join online petition and protests more frequently are predicted have lower satisfaction score and higher expectation towards their churches. On the contrary, respondents who more frequently join prayers are predicted have higher satisfaction and lower expectation towards their churches.

Regarding church responses, churches which more often preach sermon messages that respond to social movement, offer counselling services and pastoral presence, can predict higher satisfaction score in church attendees.

Looking at age group differences, respondents aged 18-39 have higher expectation towards their churches; which their horizontal expression (e.g. joining online petition, seminars and protests) is more frequent than other age groups. Respondents aged 50 or above express more vertically (e.g. pray, seek God’s will in the bible) than other age groups.

As for political views, respondents who are radical and moderate democrats have relatively higher expectation and lower satisfaction towards their churches; centrist/those with no political affiliation have relatively higher satisfaction level towards church.

Conclusion

To conclude, preaching sermon messages that respond to social movement and offering counselling services are crucial ways of church response that can predict higher satisfaction in church members. These above research results cannot represent the actual landscape and full picture of what churches and Christians are facing in this social movement. But we hope that the body of Christ in Hong Kong can learn, understand and walk with one another; and rely on God as we witness God and bring hope and healing to this broken city