NCLS Research is a joint venture started by church mission agencies in the early 1990s.
The vision of NCLS Research is to provide an evidence base to help churches to connect with the wider community.
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.
Research aims include studying Australian spirituality, church health, effective and sustainable leadership, and the connections between church and community.
What is the National Church Life Survey?
Major Research Projects: National Church Life Surveys
The National Church Life Survey is a research project that has taken place every five years for twenty five years: 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016. It is a survey designed for adult and child church attenders, and local church leaders.
It is an outstanding example of co-operation across denominations and traditions. Participants in the 2016 National Church Life Survey included:
- More than 20 Christian denominations: Acts 2 Alliance (A2A), Anglican, Australian Christian Churches (ACC), Baptist, C3 Churches (CCC), Catholic, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Christian Reformed Churches, Churches of Christ, Congregational, CRC Churches International, Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC), Independent Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC), International Network of Churches, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Salvation Army, Seventh-day Adventist, Uniting Church, Vineyard Fellowship and independent congregations.
- 3000 local churches
- ~ 260 000 adult attenders (aged 15+) and 10,000 child attenders (8 to 14 yrs)
- ~ 6 000 leaders (lay and clergy)
Click here to read more about the research agendas and priorities for the NCLS Research team.
Resources for Churches
NCLS Research has always sought to balance its research projects with practical resources to help churches. Churches are invited to focus on what has given them life in the past and present and what they can build on to create a future that will lead to life in abundance. They are invited to strengthen their connections with the community.
Some examples of the resources that have been developed include:
After every National Church Life Survey, the NCLS team provides results to each of the thousands of local church about their own church vitality, to local church leaders about patterns of sustainable leadership and to denominational leaders (e.g. Diocesan leaders) about the state of church life in their sphere of influence.
Here is a video that introduces the NCLS framework for church health.
NCLS and Church Vitality
© NCLS Research. Based on 2006 NCLS
Board of Governors
The NCLS Board of Governors includes representatives from the four major partners: Uniting Mission and Education, NSW & the ACT; Anglicare Diocese of Sydney; Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Australian Catholic University.
About NCLS Research. Source: ACU Research Symposium 2012