Announcing the 2021 NCLS

30 years of the NCLS continues in 2021

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From November 2021, hundreds of thousands of voices will contribute to the most comprehensive view of church life in the world.

All Australian churches are invited to take part in the seventh nationwide survey of churchgoers – the 2021 National Church Life Survey. The survey will take place across Australian churches in late 2021, the same year as the National Census.

The LIFE of the Australian Church

As churches respond to social changes, it is more important than ever to have an informed approach to modern day ministry. For over 30 years, the National Church Life Survey has tracked the LIFE of the Australian Church, the lives and hopes of people who attend churches all around the country.

‘Life to the full’ is the philosophy behind the survey, aiming to encouraging fullness of vitality in churches, leaders and communities.

Life in Churches: The NCLS enables churches to review their health and vitality, provides an evidence base to make wise decisions and inspire new directions for the future.

Life in Leadership: The NCLS examines the practices of church leaders and provides insights into how they can be effective and sustainable; developing a culture of empowering leadership.

Life in Communities: The NCLS recognises the life and times of Australians, how they approach matters of faith; and provides tools so churches and communities can better connect.

The 2021 NCLS survey project

The project incorporates around:

  • 20+ denominations
  • Nine languages
  • Thousands of local churches
  • Tens of thousands of local leaders in active church ministry 
  • Hundreds of thousands of church attenders

Previous National Church Life Surveys have been held in 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2016. The 2021 NCLS heralds the 30 year anniversary of the survey.

National Director of NCLS Research, Dr Ruth Powell, is hoping to build on previous strengths of the National Church Life Survey, as well as introduce some innovations.

"We will ask questions to help map the Australian church landscape, and as previously, will ask local churches questions to help them reflect on their own health and vitality," said Ruth. "We hope to meet the needs of many parts of the church by gathering information that is helpful for their mission objectives."


A proposal for the 2021 NCLS for Regional Coordinators and Denominational Leaders

View proposal document for the 2021 NCLS project

(pdf download)