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U.S. Congregations:
Research, Resources, and Results
Congregational Life Survey
Resources for Congregations
Community Profiles

What is the U.S. Congregational Life Survey?

Worshipers are what makes a congregation. And the attitudes, opinions, and perceptions of worshipers are essential to understanding congregations and religious life in the United States. Without focusing on worshipers we cannot identify a congregation's strengths or hope to find avenues for effective congregational change.

As part of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, about 300,000 worshipers in over 2,000 congregations in the United States completed a survey during worship services in April 2001. Worshipers in Australia, England, and New Zealand completed similar surveys. Together, the international effort included about 2 million worshipers and 17,000 congregations across three continents.

The purposes of the United States Congregational Life Survey are:

  • to develop resources that will help congregations better understand themselves, identify their strengths, and stimulate their efforts to create a positive future for themselves.
  • to develop resources that help congregations assess their ministries and relate more effectively with their communities
  • to provide a national and international congregational data base that will enable congregations to look at their ministries in relationship to denominational, national, and international benchmarks
  • to provide denominational leaders, church consultants, and church planners with information and resources to assist congregations

Participating congregations receive a profile of their worshipers, a check-up on three dimensions of congregational vitality (attracting new members, involvement in the community, and faith development), and tools for identifying their strengths and planning for positive change.

Results from these 300,000 worshipers are available in the Key Results area. And, other congregations that want to see how they compare are now invited to take the survey. Can My Congregation Take Part? tells you how your congregation can be a part of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey.

The U.S. Congregational Life Survey is being conducted by U.S. Congregations, a religious research group staffed by religious researchers and sociologists. It is housed in the offices of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Cynthia Woolever (right) is Project Director and Deborah Bruce (left) is Project Manager.

Deborah Bruce (left) and Cynthia Woolever (right)

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Copyright 2002 Research Services. All Rights Reserved.

Last modified March 3, 2004 by U.S. Congregations Home Page Manager