U.S. Congregational Life Survey, 2001, Fast-Growing Presbyterian Leaders

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


“Over 300,000 worshipers in over 2,000 congregations across America participated in the U.S. Congregational Life Survey—-making it the largest survey of worshipers in America ever conducted. Three types of surveys were completed in each participating congregation: (a) an attendee survey completed by all worshipers age 15 and older who attended worship services during the weekend of April 29, 2001; (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 leader. Together the information collected provides a unique three-dimensional look at religious life in America.” (From Appendix 1, A Field Guide to U.S. Congregations: Who’s Going Where and Why. U.S. Congregational Life Survey Methodology.) This data file contains data for Fast-growing Presbyterian Leaders and PC(USA) random sample leaders from PC(USA) congregations. The Congregational Life Survey also has a Congregational profile for Fast-growing PC(USA) congregations and an Attender survey of all Fast-growing PC(USA) worshipers.

Data File
Cases: 622
Variables: 249
Weight Variable: None
Data Collection
Date Collected: April and May 2002
Original Survey (Instrument)
USCLS Leader Survey
Funded By
The Lilly Endowment, Inc.
The Louisville Institute
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Collection Procedures
Self-administered surveys
Sampling Procedures
“The National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago identified a random sample of U.S. congregations attended by individuals who participated in the General Social Survey (GSS) in the year 2000. All GSS participants who reported that they attended worship at least once in the prior year were asked to name the place where they worshiped. Since the GSS involves a national random sample of individuals, congregations identified by GSS participants comprise a national random sample of congregations. NORC researchers verified that each nominated congregation was an actual congregation and then invited each congregation to participate in the project.”

“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 were: Church of the Nazarene, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Roman Catholic Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Southern Baptist Convention, United Methodist Church (UMC), and United Church of Christ (UCC).” (From Appendix 1, A Field Guide to U.S. Congregations: Who’s Going Where and Why. U.S. Congregational Life Survey Methodology.)

Three Presbyterian Church (USA) oversamples participated in the survey. The first is the random sample. This sample was selected randomly from within sub strata based on size, region, and race-ethnicity of members. The second is the Racial Ethnic/Multicultural PC(USA) sample. This sample comprises three groups: (1) all predominantly racial-ethnic congregations (at least half of their members are from racial-ethnic minority groups), (2) all multi-cultural congregations (at least 20% of members are not white), and (3) all congregations that reported in 1996 that they have an immigrant fellowship meeting in their facilities. Efforts were made to “de-duplicate” the Random and Ethnic samples. That is, congregations that appeared in both samples were invited only once. The third is the Fast-growing PC(USA) sample. The 400 fastest-growing congregations in the denomination were invited to participate. To identify these congregations, the percentage change in average worship attendance over the previous five-year period was examined. Congregations with missing or inaccurate data were excluded. Data from the both the PC(USA) random sample and the Fast-growing PS(USA) sample are included in this file.

The response rate for the Presbyterian Church (USA) Fast-growing leader sample was 88.46 percent.

PC(USA) results are available at http://www.USCongregations.org
Principal Investigators
Cynthia Woolever, Professor of Sociology of Religious Organizations, Hartford Institute for Religion Research, Hartford Seminary, co-principal investigator

Keith Wulff, Coordinator of Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), co-principal investigator

Deborah Bruce, Associate Research Manager, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), project manager

Ida Smith-Williams, Associate for Information, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), data management specialist
Related Publications
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, 2004.

Other reports are listed at: http://www.USCongregations.org under “Key Results.”