NCLS Research

How to run a Church Life Survey

Most churches select a survey week and conduct the survey at each service and activity during a standard week.

We suggest you avoid special events e.g. Baptisms, to give you a more regular and reliable sample of attenders. The attender survey will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

Surveys should be completed:

  • at any activity of spiritual nurture at your church (e.g. in worship service/ mass, small groups etc.)
  • by every attender aged 15 years and older
  • ONCE only by each attender

Preparing your Congregation

Instructions on How to Run the Survey

Download a set of instructions below, or scroll down the page to read them in full.

Download instructions to run a Church Life Survey

Download instructions on how to complete a Children’s Survey

For churches that are NOT completing a Children's Survey, an activity sheet is available for children to use while adults attenders are completing the survey, if needed.

Download Children’s activity sheet


Before conducting the survey:

  1. Select the best time to run the survey in your church. Most churches will select a ‘survey week’ and conduct their survey once at each church service and activity during a standard week.
  2. Notify the church at least one week in advance.
  3. Supply those leading the services/activities with Attender Survey forms, a copy of the Instructions and NCLS Church Code for each church location (see page 1 of Instructions booklet).
  4. Plan to allow sufficient time for completion of the survey at each church service or activity, approximately 20 minutes.
  5. Bring sufficient blue or black pens or lead pencils for all attenders.

During the survey:

  1. Display the Church Code in a prominent place, so that the attenders can include this on the top right hand corner of their survey forms. Display PowerPoint slide of the Church Code.
  2. Read out Survey Instructions (see page 4 of Instructions booklet).
  3. Allow sufficient time for attenders to complete the survey form, approximately 20 minutes.
  4. Collect all completed Attender Survey forms in the Confidential Collection Envelopes.
  5. Safeguard confidentiality by sealing the Collection Envelopes and not reading attender responses.

After conducting the survey:

  1. Complete the Checklist Cover Sheet.
  2. Place the Confidential Collection Envelopes containing completed Attender forms, Children’s forms and Checklist Cover Sheet into the postpack in which they came.
  3. Stick the return address label to NCLS Research on your postpack.
  4. Post the package back as soon as possible to NCLS Research at PO Box 968 North Sydney NSW 2059.

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