FAQs- About the Church Life Survey

How, when, where and why

Resource Type: Article

Topics: cls faq church life survey

About the Church Life Survey



How do churches order surveys?

Churches order Attender Surveys for all church attenders aged 15 years and over. The Attender Survey is available on paper or online. It is also available in nine languages.

Order surveys


How can churches prepare their church/parish for the survey?

Prepare your Church for the survey


How do churches run the survey?

Churches can run the survey anytime that suits them. We recommend setting aside 20 minutes during your Worship Service gathering (either face-to-face or online) to complete the survey together. Options are provided for paper and online surveys. A Guide for Survey Coordinators along with Site Instructions for each location or site where the survey will be held are provided for your use. As well, resources including PowerPoint slides, poster, and notifications are available. Instructions and Parent Information Sheets are provided for the Child Survey.

Administer the Survey at your Church

View Guide for Survey Coordinators for Survey Day



Who completes the survey?

The surveys are designed to be completed by ALL attenders at your church, so that each voice is heard. For very large churches, it may be sufficient to survey a sample of attenders rather than everyone. Please contact NCLS Research for advice on sampling in your very large church.

•   The Attender Survey is completed by church attenders aged 15 years and over.

•   The Child Survey is an optional survey, completed by church attenders aged 8-14 years.



In which church activities does the survey take place?

The Attender Survey can be completed in any activity of spiritual nurture e.g. during a worship service or mass, in a small group, or in a youth group etc. It is completed by each person ONCE only. Please do not let people take the survey forms home to complete, as experience shows the return rate will be very low.

Most churches select a "survey week" and complete the surveys in every worship service and activity that week.
It is recommended to set aside time at the beginning or in the middle of a worship service, mass or activity to complete the survey (around 20 minutes). Those who have not completed the survey during that time can complete it at the end of the service or activity.


How long does the survey take?

The Attender Survey takes around 20 minutes to complete. If some attenders need more time, please ask them to stay back after the service or activity to complete it.


What types of survey forms are in the standard survey?

The standard Church Life Survey order includes the Attender Survey and the Survey Returns Coversheet.


Are there optional survey forms?

The Child Survey is also available for churches to order as an optional survey for children aged 8 to 14 years.

The Local Community Survey is also available for churches to order to survey anyone connected with their church, but who doesn't regularly attend.


What languages are the Attender Surveys available in?

Attender Surveys are available in 9 languages:
•  English
•  Arabic
•  Chin (Burmese)
•  Chinese
•  Dinka (Sudanese)
•  Karen (Burmese)
•  Korean
•  Tongan and
•  Vietnamese.


What if more survey forms are needed? Can the forms be photocopied?

No, each survey form is specially printed to enable computer scanning. They cannot be photocopied. Please contact NCLS Research if you require more forms, phone (02) 9139 2525 or email surveys@ncls.org.au.

N.B. Please provide your NCLS Church Code in your correspondence with NCLS Research. Your NCLS Church Code is found on the Guide and Site Instructions in your Survey Kit.


Is there a minimum number of surveys required?

A minimum of 10 survey forms is required to produce a Church Life Profile of survey results, in order to protect the confidentiality of attenders.

However, we encourage churches of all sizes, including small churches, to complete the survey, to contribute to the overall picture of the Australian church. Every church’s voice is needed. Alternate pricing arrangements are in place for small rural churches who may not have sufficient numbers to produce a full Church Life Profile of results.



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