U.S. Congregational Life Survey, Wave 2, 2011, Fast Growing and New Southern Baptist Convention Attender Survey

Data Archive > U.S. Surveys > Religious Groups > Members or Leaders > Baptist > Summary


More than 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 a sample of Fast Growing and New Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) worship attenders participating in Wave 2 of the U.S. Congregational Life Survey. (U.S. Congregational Life Survey Wave 2 Fast Growing/New SBC Congregational Profile data and Fast Growing/New SBC Leader data will be provided in separate files.)

Data File
Cases: 11,215
Variables: 146
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: Fall 2011
Original Survey (Instrument)
USCLS Baptist Attender
Funded By
The Lilly Endowment, Inc.
Louisville Institute
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Collection Procedures
Self-administered surveys
Sampling Procedures
In Wave 1 and Wave 2, denominations also were 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).

Researchers in the Southern Baptist Convention invited fastest-growing and new congregations. Fast-growing churches were identified after examining the percentage change in average worship attendance in all congregations over a five-year period. Congregations with missing or inaccurate attendance data were excluded. Of those invited to participate, 82 churches returned completed survey forms.

The SBC Fast Growing random sample of Attender data can be linked to the SBC Fast Growing Profile and Leader data by the CONGREGA variable.
Principal Investigators
Cynthia Woolever, Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), co-principal investigator

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

Joelle Kopacz, Research Assistant, Research Services, 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.

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