NCLS Research

First results from 2011 National Church Life Survey

The 2011 National Church Life Survey was conducted from September to December of 2011. This was the fifth five yearly National Church Life Survey – one of the largest surveys in Australia.

Here are some fast facts about the 2011 NCLS:
  • 23 denominations plus independent churches
  • Over 3,000 local churches
  • 260,000 adult attenders, 10,000 child attenders (aged 8 to 14) and 6,000+ leaders completed surveys
  • Surveys were conducted in eight languages: English, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Tongan, Italian, Arabic and Dinka

Here is a first look at some results from the 2011 National Church Life Survey and a list of which denominations took part.

Who’s going to church?
Widespread participation in National Church Life Survey

A profile of 100 church attenders

Over a quarter of a million church attenders completed the 2011 National Church Life Survey. If we represent all those people as a congregation of 125 people, 25 of them would be children aged 0-14, leaving 100 people aged 15 years and older. 

The profile of 100 adult church attenders looks like this...

  • 60 are female
  • 34 hold a degree
  • 15 are aged 15- 29; 25 are aged 30-49, 35 are aged 50-69 and 25 are 70+
  • 51 are employed; 9 have full time home duties and 33 are retired
  • 22 were born in a non-English speaking country

About commitment and involvement in local churches:

  • 44 have a leadership or ministry role in their church
  • 43 give more than 5% of their net income to their church
  • 33 are involved in their church’s prayer or Bible study groups
  • 32 are strongly committed to their church’s vision and goals
  • 35 invited someone to come to church in the last year
  • 6 weren’t at any church 5 years ago
  • 18 weren’t at their current church 2 years ago

About attenders’ experience of church and faith development

  • 86 have grown in their faith over the last 12 months
  • 76 find the preaching at their church helpful
  • 42 always experience God’s presence during their church’s worship service

Each participating local church has since received their survey results along with strategic ministry resources. Dioceses, states & denominations have received a report on the overall vitality of their churches and how this has changed over time.

Widespread participation in National Church Life Survey

The participation in the 2011 National Church Life Survey was Australia wide among all States and Territories, in rural as well as urban areas. As noted above, there were more than 3000 local churches in 23 denominations plus independent churches.   Some 260,000 adult attenders, 10,000 child attenders (aged 8 to 14) and 6,000+ leaders completed surveys in eight different languages. Participating denominations included:

  • Anglican Church of Australia
  • Apostolic Church of Australia
  • Australian Christian Churches (AOG)
  • Baptist Churches
  • Catholic Church in Australia
  • Christian Brethren Assemblies
  • Christian & Missionary Alliance
  • C3 Church (Christian City Church)
  • Christian Life Churches International
  • Christian Outreach Centre Australia
  • Christian Reformed Churches
  • CRC Churches International
  • Church of the Nazarene
  • Churches of Christ
  • Congregational Churches
  • Grace Communion International
  • International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC)
  • Lutheran Church of Australia
  • Presbyterian Church of Australia
  • Seventh-day Adventist Church
  • The Salvation Army
  • Uniting Church in Australia
  • Vineyard Churches Australia

This interview was recorded in early 2011 on Wesley Impact and gives some background to the National Church Life Surveys.

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