Research, Resources, and
|Congregational Life Survey
U.S. Congregational Life Survey -- Project Timeline
During 1999, leaders in denominations and other religious organizations were contacted to gain
their support and involvement in the project. We worked with our international partners to refine
survey and to pilot test both the survey and the printouts in a wide range of congregations.
Congregations were selected and invited to participate during 2000. This included both
congregations in the random sample and those sampled by participating denominations. Pilot
testing of the survey and reports continued as we worked to finalize these materials near the end
of the year.
- January: Surveys were finalized and formatted so that automated scanning
equipment will be able to quickly process all returned forms.
- February: All surveys were delivered for printing. A total of 850,000 surveys were printed
for distribution to congregations across the U.S.
- March: Surveys and other materials were custom-packaged for each participating
congregation. The package each congregation received included:
- An overview of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey for congregations, including
instructions for returning completed surveys
- Instructions for giving the survey during worship
- Enough survey forms so that all worshipers 15 years and up in all worship services could
- Pens for use in completing the survey
- A Congregational Profile for use in collecting factual information about the congregation's
facilities, worship services, staff, and programs
- Some congregations also received a Leader Survey to be completed by the senior
minister, pastor, priest, or rabbi or other key congregational leader (others received this survey in a later
mailing or were contacted by phone to answer these questions)
- FedEx pre-paid return labels for returning packages.
- April 12: On April 12, 2001 all packages were picked up in Louisville, Kentucy and
shipped by FedEx to participating congregations.
- April 29, 2001: Worshipers in participating
congregations around the world completed the worship service
questionnaire during survey week: April 29, 2001.
- May: Starting on Wednesday, May 2, 2001, FedEx picked
up boxes of completed surveys from participating congregations. Our staff spent most of May opening
boxes, checking in responses, and packaging surveys to be sent to our scanning firm. We have
completed surveys from over 2,000 congregations!
- June through August: We hope you are enjoying a relaxing summer. It is a busy time for
- Returned attender surveys are being scanned.
- Leader surveys and Congregational Profiles are being prepared for traditional data entry and our data
entry firm is working on that part of the process.
- By the end of the summer, all of our datafiles should be be complete, and we will begin tabulating
results and seeing what we have learned.
- We're also hard at work designing reports and writing an accompanying book that we'll be sending
to participating congregations.
- Fall: We will begin printing reports for each participating congregation.
These reports will show your congregation's results and will compare your congregation to the
national benchmark. We will also prepare a video that will help congregational members and leaders
work through your results as a group. Finally, we're writing a short book, The Field Guide to U.S.
Congregations, that will be published by Geneva Press and distributed to each congregation with
their reports. The book will give you more of the "bigger picture" about U.S. congregations and help
you understand how your congregation compares.
Reports, videos, and books will be sent to participating congregations in early 2002 -- our target mailing
date is January 2!
Throughout the Winter and Spring of 2002, we'll be conducting workshops to help
congregations understand and use their printouts. Some of these will be part of conferences and other
events offered around the country and some will be stand-alone events for those interested in results of
this project. Watch for a posting of scheduled workshop dates.
Go to: U.S. Congregations Home Page
Last modified July 3, 2001 by U.S. Congregations Home Page