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U.S. Congregations:
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Congregational Life Survey
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Participating U.S. Denominations

Congregations from many denominations are participating in the U.S. Congregational Life Survey. They were selected in one of two ways: (1) a random sample of congregations across the U.S., and (2) denominations that have agreed to sample their own congregations for participation.

The Random Sample

The National Opinion Research Center (at the University of Chicago) identified a random sample of United States congregations through the General Social Survey (GSS) in the spring and summer of 2000. The GSS is conducted every two years using a random sample of adults chosen to be representative of the U.S. population. Participants are asked questions on a wide range of issues. Individuals who were interviewed as part of the GSS in 2000 were asked if they regularly attend worship services. Those who said "yes" were asked to name the congregation where they usually attend worship. Since the GSS involves a national random sample of individuals, congregations identified by GSS participants will comprise a national random sample of congregations. About 1,600 congregations were identified with this strategy and invited to participate in the U.S. Congregational Life Survey.

Because the individuals who participated in the GSS were guaranteed that their responses would be confidential, we can't tell you who nominated your congregation. It was someone who worships there. And we're glad you've been given the opportunity to take part!

Nominated congregations represent the full spectrum of religious life in the U.S. -- from Roman Catholic to Southern Baptist, from Methodist to Assemblies of God, from Muslim to Hindu, from large to small, from rural to urban, and from all racial-ethnic groups in the United States. For our results to be valid, we need the responses of all nominated congregations.

Because these congregations will represent a random sample of U.S. congregations, we will use the survey responses from all who worship in these congregations as the national benchmark. Each congregation that participates will be able to compare their own results to the national benchmark to affirm their strengths and identify areas where improvements might be made.

Other Denominations That Are Participating

Denominations have been invited to draw random samples of their congregations. These denominational samples will be large enough so that the results are representative of congregations within each denomination and can be used as denominational benchmarks. This will allow denominations to compare their "typical" congregation to congregations in other denominations.

Denominations that have agreed to oversample their congregations for participation in the National Congregational Life Survey include:

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Last modified April 11, 2001 by U.S. Congregations Home Page Manager