Frequently Asked Questions- General Questions about the 2021 NCLS
When is the survey being held?
The 2021 National Church Life Survey will be held from November 2021 in local churches across the nation.
What are the key dates?
ORDER: July 2021: Churches register and order surveys. Denominational leaders may be placing bulk orders on behalf of their churches.
DISPATCH: during October 2021: Survey kits distributed to churches.
COMPLETE: from November 2021-March 2022: Churches complete their surveys anytime in the survey period.
RETURN: 2 weeks following completion: Churches post their completed survey items to NCLS Research.
RECEIVE: March- April 2022: Churches receive their survey results in a Church Life Pack of resources, first online and then in hard copy.
How does a church run the survey if under COVID restrictions?
How do churches order surveys?
How do churches take part?
How can churches prepare their congregation/parish for the survey?
How do churches run the survey?
Is there a checklist of key tasks for coordinating the survey?
Go to 2021ncls.org.au/administer and click on "Checklist of Key Tasks" for the three time periods: before the survey, during the survey and after the survey.
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.
• The Church Census Form is to be completed by a church administrator or leader.
• The Leader Survey is for anyone involved in ministry or pastoral leadership within a local church.
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 survey order includes the Attender Survey, the Leader Survey, the Census Survey Form 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:
• Chin (Burmese)
• Dinka (Sudanese)
• Karen (Burmese)
• Tongan and
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.