NCLS Research

Media Release (Dec 09) - National Church Life Survey to take place 2011

All Australian churches are invited to take part in the fifth nationwide survey of churchgoers in 2011 – the National Church Life Survey.

The NCLS Research team who will conduct the survey is an ecumenical body that aims to provide evidence-based results to help churches connect with the wider community.

The survey will take place in a variety of forms across Australian churches in the second half of 2011, the same year as the National Census.

Bishop Glenn Davies of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney says that “For the past 20 years the National Church Life Survey has been an outstanding example of co-operation across denominations for the sake of furthering God’s mission.”

National Director of NCLS Research, Dr Ruth Powell, is hoping to build on previous strengths of the National Church Life Survey, as well as introduce some innovations.

“We’re going to invite all churches in Christian denominations across Australia, and based on previous experience, we hope that 500,000 church attenders in 7,000 local churches from 25 denominations will participate in the survey,” she said.

“We will ask questions to help map the Australian church landscape, and as previously, will ask local churches questions to help them reflect on their own health and vitality,” said Ruth. “We also want to find the lighthouse churches, those that are being innovative.”

“We hope to meet the needs of many parts of the church, including schools and agencies by gathering information that is helpful for their mission objectives.”

Fr Brian Lucas of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference said that the 2011 NCLS would help churches to identify realities.

“The mission of NCLS Research is to use credible research to identify signs of hope, to nurture life in both leadership and churches as well as to encourage the wider community to reflect upon its spiritual journey and the churches’ place within it,” he said.

“A truly national survey can only take place with the collaboration of all the churches across the nation. We’re hoping to let churches start the dialogue now, to ensure that it is a useful and cooperative venture.”

Tina Rendell Director Uniting Church Board of Mission (NSW/ACT) said the National Church Life Survey gives a realistic overview of Australian Churches.

“The information assists Churches identify strengths to grow and challenges to be faced.”

“NCLS is beneficial to both local and denominational leaders as Churches shape their mission and ministry into the future.”

First occurring in 1991, the five-yearly National Church Life Survey has provided Australian churches with a source of information about their own vitality and mission that is unmatched worldwide.

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