The LCA will take part in this year’s National Church Life Survey (NCLS), with the General Church Board funding the full participation of all Lutheran congregations and parishes in Australia in the five-yearly poll.

To be held in October and November, the NCLS is a cooperative venture across all churches in Australia. It is the largest, longest-running study of church life in the world. It draws together the voices and aspirations of all Australian church attenders as they speak not only to each other but Australian society as a whole and the international community.

Churches of all sizes and traditions, in urban, rural and remote communities complete the NCLS as a way to reflect on their church’s health. The survey aims to be a life-giving resource for churches, to nurture their vitality and inform their decision-making, as they seek to be part of God’s mission where they are.


  1. Hear all the voices – Hear the attitudes and beliefs of all people at church.
  2. Make better choices – Use a credible evidence base to inform discussions and decisions.
  3. Find out things you need to know – Doing a nationwide survey helps churches to learn from each other and allows leaders to identify key trends.
  4. Find out the giftings and hopes of attenders – Harness their energy, motivation and hopes to move forward. Encourage all to contribute their gifts and skills.
  5. Take stock of your church’s health – Use the NCLS Research framework of church vitality to assess nine core qualities and three attendance measures.
  6. Identify your strengths and use them to grow – NCLS planning resources are strengths-based, the best place to start when making any change.
  7. See how you compare – Use this gauge to set realistic goals.
  8. Sustain and support leaders – Understand what contributes to sustainable and effective leadership practices in churches.
  9. Add to the profile of your denomination and the Australian church – Denominational leaders will use overall information about their churches to inform their pastoral and strategic leadership.
  10. Inform wider Australian society and beyond – Describe the story of modern Australian churches to wider society to challenge myths.


All LCA congregations will be contacted about the survey, including a letter from Dr Tania Nelson, the LCA coordinator for the 2021 NCLS, supporting their participation. Dr Nelson says the LCA is encouraging participation in both the attender survey for people 15 years and over and the child attender survey for eight to 14-year-olds.  She says church councils and members may wish to view the NCLS Research promotional video, which can be accessed at

The NCLS doesn’t include New Zealand congregations. The Christian Research Association of New Zealand conducts the Church Life Survey of New Zealand, the most recent of which was held in 2018.


NCLS attender surveys are available in English, Arabic, Chin (Burmese), Chinese, Dinka, Italian, Karen (Burmese), Korean, Tongan and Vietnamese. And, as well as paper survey forms, an online survey option is available for the attender survey.

Already a subscriber? Click here to login and read this article.
Not a subscriber? Click here to receive stories & upcoming issues in full