Attenders overall experiences in church worship services

Most church attenders feel positive about their local church worship experience

Results from the 2016 NCLS show that the vast majority of church attenders are satisfied with their overall experience of worship services.

More than eight in ten churchgoers reported that they always or usually experience music they appreciate; and noted a sense of God's presence.

Just over three quarters said they always or usually hear preaching helpful to their lives.

When attenders were asked to evaluate their overall experiences in church worship, in the 2016 NCLS, 85% reported that they always or usually experience music they appreciate and 83% noted that they experience a sense of God’s presence. Some 78% always or usually hear preaching helpful to their lives and 77% recounted that their experience led to growth in their understanding of God. A similar proportion always or usually experience inspiration (72%) during church worship services and around six in ten churchgoers (61%) claim to be always or usually challenged to action.


An integral part of any church worship service is the passing on of knowledge of the faith. When attenders were asked how often they experienced ‘preaching very helpful to my life’, 37% of church attenders said the preaching was always helpful and 41% said it was usually helpful. A further 19% said it was sometimes helpful and only 3% said it was rarely or never helpful.


Almost half (49%) of church attenders said that they always experienced music they appreciate in worship services and 35% said they usually did. Just 14% said they sometimes appreciated the music, with only 3% noting they never did.


Our results reveal that overall most churchgoers are reporting positively on their experience in local church services. Given that an integral part of any church worship service is to pass on knowledge of the faith and to nurture a relationship with God, the strong ratings of growth in understanding God as well as the sense of God's presence, are affirming to church leaders. The slightly lower ratings of being challenged to action might give leaders opportunity to consider how the church worship experience contributes to the discipleship journey of their attenders, in their day to day actions.  

Ruth Powell, Kathy Jacka
Data Sources:

Powell, R. Sterland, S. Pepper, M. and Hancock, N. (2016). 2016 NCLS Attender Survey [Data file]. Sydney: NCLS Research.

Related Articles

Churchgoers experience of disability

More than half of churchgoers have an experience of or connection with disability

Civic environmental actions of church attenders

Environmental events, voting and giving money are most common civic actions of churchgoers.

Builders and boomers bridge

Builders and Boomers: a bridge from faithful tradition to contemporary choice

Attender preferences in music style

Churchgoers prefer traditional hymns and praise choruses in worship services