As you may be aware the National Church Life Survey (NCLS) will take place across Australia in October & November this year (2016) and we would like to encourage you and your church to participate.
The NCLS aims to be a life-giving resource for churches, to nurture vitality, revitalisation and inform decision-making for local churches as they seek to be part of God’s mission both locally and globally.
As part of the NCLS, Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT will also be asked a special set of questions around Evangelism, Mission & Faith Sharing. These questions are aimed at giving both our association and your church a clear indication of our evangelistic temperature and how we might lift our evangelistic edge and faith sharing amongst our churches and as a movement.
We would also like to encourage churches to include children aged 8-14 in the NCLS for 2016. Please ensure that your church orders enough of the Children Surveys so that those aged 8-14 can participate and have their voices heard.
We believe that having an opportunity to listen to all the voices in a congregation (including children) will help churches and leaders discover the strengths, hopes, discernments and personal commitment of their attendees. With a clear understanding of who we are, churches can take informed and intentional steps towards health and greater levels of vitality.
While there is a cost involved in participating in NCLS, we would encourage churches to see the cost as an investment in ongoing healthy ministry. The costs associated with participating are extremely reasonable given the type of data being collected and the report provided to churches. The benefits for ongoing healthy ministry and strategic planning for churches far outweighs the cost of participating.
For the small number of churches who might find the costs of participating in the NCLS a little beyond their capacity, some financial assistance is available. If the cost is a barrier to participating in the NCLS, please contact Ian Altman to discuss your needs.
Churches need to order their survey forms by the end of June 2016 and complete the survey during October-November.
Survey results and a detailed Church Life Profile will be sent to churches around March 2017. This is much earlier than previous years, and the Association is committed to helping churches use their results to take steps towards health, growth, vitality and revitalisation. Following the release of the NCLS, we will be running training days and workshops to help pastors, leaders and churches understand their Church Life Profile and identify the key steps and strategic responses. Please look out for these workshops from May 2017.
Ten Reasons Why Your Church Should Participate In The NCLS
- To hear all the voices from your church – Hear the attitudes and beliefs of all people at your church, including those who don’t always get heard.
- Make better choices – Use a credible evidence base to inform your discussions and decisions. Discern where best to place your energy and direction, based on your survey feedback.
- Find out the things you need to know – As mission researchers; the NCLS team know things about what you care about. Doing a nation-wide survey helps churches to learn from each other and allows leaders to identify key trends.
- Find out the giftings and hopes of attendees – Receive a list of areas where your attendees are gifted and motivated to act. Harness their energy, motivation and hopes to move forward. Encourage all to contribute their gifts and skills.
- Take stock of your church’s health – Beyond counting heads, your church can use the NCLS Research framework of church vitality to assess nine core qualities and three attendance measures, at regular times in your church’s journey.
- Identify your strengths and use them to grow – Survey results will show where your church’s strengths lie. Identify your strengths and use them to inform areas of growth. Our planning resources are strengths-based, the best place to start when making any change.
- See how you compare – We give realistic comparisons to similar churches, so you can see how you’re tracking alongside other churches like yours. Use this gauge to set realistic goals and expectations.
- Sustain and support leaders – Understand what contributes to sustainable and effective leadership practices in churches, to better equip and develop your leaders in ministry.
- Add to the profile of your denomination and the Australian church – Association leadership team will use the overall information about our churches to inform our pastoral and strategic leadership into the future. It’s important that all our churches be a part of the overall profile of our Baptist Association.
- Inform wider Australian society and beyond – Describe the story of modern Australian churches to wider society to challenge myths. Researchers around the world will also learn from the experiences of Australian churches
Again we would like to encourage all of our churches across NSW and ACT to participate in the NCLS. We believe that it will provide a significant resource and helpful information for all churches as well a practical tool that will help pastors, leaders and churches move forward in areas of health and revitalisation.
If you have any questions about NCLS, please contact Ian Altman – Associate Director – Church Development firstname.lastname@example.org