U.S. Congregational Life Survey, Wave 2, 2011, Fast Growing Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Leader Survey

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


More than 500,000 worshipersin 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 sample of Fast Growing Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations that completed the Leader Survey form. (U.S. Congregational Life Survey Wave 2 Fast Growing PC(USA) Attender data and Congregational Profile data will be provided in separate data files.)

Data File
Cases: 201
Variables: 513
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: Fall 2011
Original Survey (Instrument)
USCLS Leader Survey
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, other 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. Along with the PC(USA), denominations participating in this oversampling procedure in Wave 1 and Wave 2 were Church of the Nazarene, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), 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 PC(USA) invited the 345 fastest-growing congregations within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to take part in the US CLS. Fast-growing churches were identified after examining the percentage change in average worship attendance in all PC(USA) congregations over a five-year period (2004-2009). Congregations with missing or inaccurate attendance data were excluded. Of those invited to participate, 128 agreed to do so, and 117 returned completed worshiper survey forms. Of those 117 churches, 114 churches also returned a Profile survey completed by a key informant. Of these 114 churches, 111 returned a Leader Survey completed by the pastor, minister, or key leader.

An 8-page Leader Survey to be completed by the principal leader was included in the package sent out to churches participating in the New PC(USA) sample. The package also included a separate business-reply envelope for leaders to mail back the survey to maintain their confidentiality. Key leaders could also complete the survey online.

Several questions were altered for the Fastest Growing Leader Survey from the U.S. Congregational Life Survey instrument used in 2008 (Wave 2):
• Q21: different wording
• Q23: different wording
• Q28E: different wording
• Q47: different skip pattern
• Q54: new questions entirely
• Q100A-M6: different wording

The Fast Growing PC(USA) Leader Survey data can be linked to the Fast Growing PC(USA) attender and Congregational Profile 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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