Research, Resources, and Results
|Congregational Life Survey
Resources for Congregations
|U.S. Congregational Life Survey --
A Tool for Discovering Your Congregation's Strengths
When was the last time your congregation had its picture taken?
We invite you to participate in the U.S. Congregational Life Survey--an opportunity to take your congregation's picture and learn more about your congregation's strengths.
Answers to some of the most common questions about this project are provided below.
The U.S. Congregational Life Survey provides the first accurate picture of religion in America. Almost 300,000 worshipers in more than 2,000 congregations across the U.S. have participated in this survey. These congregations were scientifically selected to be representative of all congregations across the country. By using the U.S. Congregational Life Survey, youíll identify your congregation's unique strengths in comparison to other congregations and find ways to build on those strengths.
Hundreds of congregations from a wide variety of denominations have used this process to plan their future in ways that fit their unique size, community, and dreams.
The survey asks your worshipers about four fundamental building blocks of congregational life ĀE spirituality and faith development, involvement in groups and leadership roles in the congregation, community involvement, and congregational priorities and future directions. (See sample survey in pdf format).
No, this survey isnít about the pastor--itís about the congregation--especially the people in the pews.
There are no right or wrong answers.
Your answers are completely confidential; unless you choose to share your results with others, no one outside your congregation will see your worshiperís answers. Youíll send your surveys directly back to our research office. Weíll use an identification number to help us keep track of your congregationís responses, but individual answers are all confidential--in fact, we ask worshipers not to put their names on the survey. Weíll combine the responses of all of your worshipers and provide summary reports telling you what they said.
The survey is designed to be given in worship on a typical Sunday or other day of worship. Giving the survey in worship is an efficient way to take a snapshot of your congregation including regular worshipers, those who come less often, and visitors. If your congregation has more than one weekly service, the survey should be given in each.
Every worshiper who is at least 15 years old should take part, including ushers, people in the choir, and others who help lead the service.
Most worshipers can complete the survey in 15 minutes. Each question is in a quick response format so that worshipers do not write out their answers. We suggest setting aside about 20 minutes to allow time for explanation and for distributing and collecting the surveys.
Congregations have found a variety of ways to give the survey in worship. Many have found that it works well to set aside the last 20 minutes of each scheduled worship service to distribute the survey. Then, worshipers can leave when they have finished. Our experience shows that if you let worshipers take the surveys home with them, few will return them. To make sure your portrait is accurate, itís essential to give the survey during worship.
Itís your decision. Select the week that is most convenient for your congregation. Itís best to pick a week that is typical. Giving the survey on Motherís Day or on a holiday weekend, for example, wouldnít give you an accurate portrait if more visitors than normal attend or if many of your frequent attendees are away. Once you've selected your date, be sure to order surveys at least three weeks in advance.
Four to six weeks after we receive your completed surveys, you'll receive:
There are two parts to the fee. First, there is a per survey fee -- $1.00 for every survey ordered. (The per-survey fee is based on the number ordered -- not the numbered returned -- and there is no fee reduction if all surveys are not used.) Second, there is a processing and handling fee -- this fee is based on your congregationís size:
If you need more information or if youíre ready to get started, please call us toll-free at 1-888-728-7228 ext. 2040. You can also contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
U.S. Congregations is a religious research group, housed in the offices of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in Louisville, Kentucky, staffed by religious researchers and sociologists who are conducting the U.S. Congregational Life Survey.
Last modified June 4, 2004 by U.S. Congregations Home Page Manager