Who We are.
NCLS Research is a world leader in research focused on connecting churches and their communities. Decades of rigorous and thoughtful research has focused on well-being, spirituality and church health. The most well known five-yearly project is called the National Church Life Survey, which has had hundreds of thousands of participants.The NCLS 2016 profile of Sydney Presbytery is based on 988 adult responses and will be updated as more congregations finish participating.
A few standout features:
One in three people in Sydney Presbytery congregations arrived in the last five years - as an urban centre, we are highly transient. More than half of our members were born overseas and we have a younger age profile than the wider Uniting Church, with an average age of 55 (as compared to 65).
Our people are very highly educated (60% with University degrees) and are particularly gifted and talented in communication, hospitality, interpersonal skills, education, management and music. They think their congregation should focus on encouraging: spiritual growth (41%); nurturing worship (34%); a sense of community (33%); people's gifts (25%); social action & aid (22%); and including newcomers (20%).
They would be most likely to invite new people to an event organised around music (50%), a public dinner or lunch (38%) or picnic (32%), a social justice issue (26%), or a public lecture (24%).
One in four of our members want to be more involved in their congregation and while a majority feel happy with their involvement, just one in six strongly agree that their gifts are well used in their church. So the data suggests we have an opportunity to better align congregational activity with the energy and abilities of our individual members.
This data informs a new initiative of building networks across the Sydney region, focused on music and song writing; mission and witness; and public engagement and advocacy.