U.S. Congregational Life Survey, Wave 2, 2008/2009, Random Sample Congregational Profile Survey

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Congregations/Other Organizations > US Congregational Life Survey > Summary


Over 500,000 worshipers in more than 5,000 congregations across America participated in the U.S. Congregational Life Survey (Wave 1 and Wave 2)—making it the largest survey of worshipers in America ever conducted. Three types of surveys were completed in each participating congregation: (a) an attender survey completed by all worshipers age 15 and older who attended worship services during the weekend the survey was given; (b) a congregational profile describing the congregation’s facilities, staff, programs, and worship services completed by one person in the congregation; and (c) a leader survey completed by the pastor, priest, minister, rabbi, or other principal leader. Together the information collected provides a unique three-dimensional look at religious life in America. (From Appendix 1, U.S. Congregational Life Survey Methodology, A Field Guide to U.S. Congregations, Second Edition).

This data file contains data for the Random Sample of congregations that completed the Congregational Profile Survey form in Wave 2. (U.S. Congregational Life Survey Wave 2 Random Sample Attender data, Leader data, and Associate Leader data will be provided in separate data files.)

Data File
Cases: 251
Variables: 285
Weight Variable: WEIGHT_A, WEIGHT_B
Data Collection
Date Collected: Fall 2008 and Spring 2009
Original Survey (Instrument)
USCLS Wave 2 Congregational Profile
Funded By
The Lilly Endowment, Inc.
Louisville Institute
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Collection Procedures
Self-administered surveys
Sampling Procedures
The second sample (Wave 2) was identified and recruited by Harris Interactive. Of 1,330 congregations nominated and verified in the Wave 2 sample, 201 agreed to participate (15% of congregations) and 148 returned completed worshiper surveys (73% of those that agreed). Worshipers in these congregations completed 38,468 surveys. Of the congregations participating for the first time in 2008, 145 returned completed congregational profile surveys. Congregations in the national random sample that participated in 2001 (Wave 1) were also invited by Harris Interactive to take part in Wave 2. In 2008, Harris Interactive verified and located 411 of the 434 congregations that participated in Wave 1. Of these, 145 agreed to participate in Wave 2 (35% of congregations), and 108 returned completed surveys from their worshipers (74% of those that agreed). These congregations returned 26,206 completed attender surveys. Of the congregations repeating in 2008, 106 returned completed congregational profile surveys.

In Wave 1 and Wave 2, denominations were also invited and encouraged to draw a random sample of their congregations. Denominational samples were large enough so that the results are representative of worshipers and congregations in each denomination. This allows denominations to compare their “typical” congregation and worshiper to congregations and worshipers in other denominations. Denominations participating in this oversampling procedure in Wave 1 and Wave 2 were Church of the Nazarene, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Seventh-day Adventist Church, United Methodist Church (UMC), and United Church of Christ (UCC). In Wave 2, the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) also participated by surveying a national random sample of their denomination’s congregations. (From Appendix 1, U.S. Congregational Life Survey Methodology, A Field Guide to U.S. Congregations, Second Edition).
Principal Investigators
Cynthia Woolever, Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), co-principal investigator

Deborah Bruce, Associate Research Manager, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), co-principal investigator

Joelle Kopacz, Research Assistant, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Ida Smith-Williams, Associate for Information, Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Related Publications
A Field Guide to U.S. Congregations: Who’s Going Where and Why. Second Edition. 2010. Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce, Westminster John Knox Press.

A Field Guide to U.S. Congregations: Who’s Going Where and Why. 2002. Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce, Westminster John Knox Press.

Beyond the Ordinary: 10 Strengths of U.S. Congregations. 2004. Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce, Westminster John Knox Press.

Places of Promise: Finding Strength in Your Congregation’s Location. 2008. Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce, Westminster John Knox Press.

Leadership That Fits Your Church: What Kind of Pastor for What Kind of Congregation. 2012. Cynthia Woolever and Deborah Bruce, Westminster John Knox Press.

Other reports are listed at: http://www.USCongregations.org
Weighting
As in the 2001 data set, there are two weight variables in the current file. The first set of weights (WEIGHT_A) is used for estimating the percentage of congregations that have a certain characteristic. The second set of weights (WEIGHT_B) is used for estimating the percentage of attendees who attend congregations that have a certain characteristic. Both sets of weights are to be applied to congregation-level data.
Merging Datasets
The Random Sample Congregational Profile data can be linked to the Random Sample Attender data by the CONGREGA variable.
Service Times
Questions about service times represent times in 4 digits, on a 24-hour clock. So morning services will stay as they are and 12 is added to evening services to make them on the 24-hour clock. Examples: 8 a.m. would be 800, 8:30 a.m. would stay as 830, 7 p.m. would be 1900, and noon would be 1200.