NCLS Research

Comparing Your Church and Community

See pages 28 to 31 of your
Community Social Profile

Please note: This section of the CSP is only available to churches who have completed a Church Life Survey. It compares your church attenders with the wider community. More information.

Explore your Church and Community Comparison section. You can Share it with others, Engage it with reflective questions, Dig Deeper into background research and national trends or Applyit to your setting with worksheets and workshops. Choose an option to suit you.

Download your CSP and share
Churches can download a pdf copy of their CSP, using their Admin Key on the NCLS website. The pdf file can be saved, emailed, uploaded, or a selection of pages can be printed from it.

Screen shots for power point and newsletters
Using a pdf version of your CSP, you can use the “Take a Snapshot” function in Adobe Acrobat Reader to copy a section and paste it into a document or a power point presentation.

Questions to ask about your Church and Community Comparison

Age and Gender comparison (p. 29 of CSP)
• What are the areas of difference and similarity in the age profile of your church compared to your local community? What issues does that raise for you?
• Is one gender over represented in your church? Why do you think this is so?

Country of birth comparison (p. 29 of CSP)
• What particular pastoral gifts and issues do those born in non-English speaking countries bring to your church’s mission and ministry?
• What about those born overseas in English speaking countries, what do they bring?

Educational qualifications comparison (p. 30 of CSP)
• How does your church’s education profile compare to the local community’s?
• How might this affect the way the church sees itself or is seen by the community?
• How might this affect the mission and ministry of the church?

Employment comparison (p. 30 of CSP)
• How does your church’s employment profile compare to the local community’s?
• How might the church use this as a strength in practical ways?

Family type comparison (p. 31 of CSP)
• Does any of the data about the families of your church strike you as significant?
• What about the data concerning the families of the whole local community?
• How might these profiles shape the mission and ministry of the church?

Marital status comparison (p. 31 of CSP)
• Which is the most common marital state in your church? In your community?
• Does the mission and ministry of the church reflect either of these realities?

Prepare a report on your CSP
You might like to use the questions above or Worksheet 5 in your Workbook to summarise key points, to share with others in your church or community.

The third section of your Community Social Profile is the Church & Community Comparison. Only those churches who participated in the 2011 National Church Life Survey, or who have since completed a Church Life Survey will receive this section.

The people in your church are often drawn from this local community; it is they who are making connections within it in all sorts of ways. This section will point to those connections that are simple and natural, and those that will need to be planned in a more structured way.

This section lays the results of your Church Life Survey alongside your Community Social Profile in order that you might compare church attenders with the local community in areas such as age, marital status, family type, level of education, employment status and country of birth.

As church attenders under 15 years of age did not fill out the Church Life Survey, wherever possible, the Census figures here exclude those aged under 15 years.

Apart from this, the ‘Your Area’ columns are the same as throughout the CSP. The ‘Your Church’ columns are taken from your Church Life Survey findings. The ‘Difference’ column shows the percentage difference between the percentages for your local community and your local church.

Things to look for
Many churches find that their age profile is older than the community’s – is this so for your church? Similarly in most areas the church’s demographic is stronger in certain categories than others – perhaps in ‘married’, ‘higher educational qualifications’ and so on.

Check where the differences are – or where the stronger representation is in each demographic, and look at what this is saying to you about your church’s vision and mission. You will find Worksheet 6 in the Community Social Profile Workbook will help you focus on the differences and similarities that matter.

See the Community Social Profile Guide for more information, including Technical Notes and how to understand Tables, Maps and Graphs.

Workshop processes to walk through your CSP
There are a variety of Workshop Processes in your Workbook to plan effective ways to improve your connections to the wider community.

Worksheets for use
A selection of Worksheets are available in your Workbook to use alongside your CSP, to look at your community, chart connections and apply the information.

The CSP, Workbook and Guide can be accessed online by those churches who purchase their Community Connections Pack. Enter your Admin Key under "Administer Your Church". Your Admin Key was included on the cover letter in your Pack.

Church & Community comparison
If your church has not received a Church and Community section in your CSP, but would like one, you can complete a Church Life Survey anytime that suits you. A Church Life Survey will provide your church attender information to be used in the CSP "Church & Community" section.

Church Life Surveys
Your church can order a Church Life Survey from NCLS Research at any time. For more information phone 02 9701 4479 or go to the Surveys and Planning section of the NCLS website -

NCLS RESEARCH | Who is NCLS Research? | Staff and Researchers | Board of Governors

PO Box 968, North Sydney NSW 2059 | Phone +61 2 9701 4479 | | ABN 23 256 203 959

© Copyright 2018 NCLS Research. All rights reserved.