KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Rev. Molly Simpson puts a high priority on hospitality at her church.

She wants people to feel welcome.

That way, visitors are more likely to return, she says.

The proof is in the results.

When the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection’s Olathe, Kan., branch started six years ago, attendance was 300 to 350. Now it is 900, Simpson says.

Simpson was considering the recent Barna Group survey of 614 Protestant pastors across the country on how they plan to improve their churches in the next year.

The California-based organization that researches spiritual topics gave the pastors a choice of 12 activities and asked them to rate their priorities.

At the top was assessing their church’s vision and mission. Fifty-nine percent were definite and 88 percent were definite or probable.

At the bottom was finding a search firm to help hire the right people. Just 2 percent of the pastors said they definitely planned to do this, and only 5 percent were definite or probable.

The second priority was assessing their church’s reputation in the community (38 percent were definite and 72 percent definite or probable).

That priority was followed by measuring the demographic and spiritual needs of their community (31 percent definite and 62 percent definite or probable).

The others, in order of importance, were:

Be more focused on safety and security issues at your church. (25 percent definite)

Revamp your budgeting and spending process. (25 percent definite)

Conduct an assessment of spiritual transformation in your church. (22 percent definite)

Invest in facilities and equipment for children. (22 percent definite)

Invest in audio and visual equipment. (19 percent definite)

Invest in facilities and equipment for teens. (18 percent definite)

Invest in technology and digital media. (18 percent definite)

Work to help increase giving. (6 percent definite)