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U.S. Congregational Life Survey, 2001, Southern Baptist Attenders




Woolever, C., Wulff, K., Bruce, D., Smith-Williams, I., & Jones, P. (2021, June 2). U.S. Congregational Life Survey, 2001, Southern Baptist Attenders.


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 the Southern Baptist Convention random sample Attenders only. The Congregational Life Survey also has a Congregational profile for Southern Baptist Convention congregations and a Leader survey of Southern Baptist Convention leaders.

The ARDA has added five additional variables to the original data set to enhance the users' experience on our site.

Data File

Cases: 11746
Variables: 152
Weight Variable: None

Data Collection

April 29, 2001

Original Survey (Instrument)

USCLS Attender Survey

Funded By

The Lilly Endowment, Inc.
The Louisville Institute
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Southern Baptist Convention

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.) In the Southern Baptist Convention oversample, 1,500 congregations were invited to participate. 195 agreed to participate and 130 returned the completed attender forms.

The Southern Baptist Convention congregations were stratified before the sample was drawn. The congregations were divided into "four strata based on size of Sunday Morning worship attendance with equal numbers of worshipers in each strata. The targeted number of worshippers in each stratum was 1,314,512."(North American Mission Board Memorandum: Sample Design for Southern Baptist Participation in the US Congregational Life Survey.) The congregations were then sorted by number of worshippers. Finally, churches were systematically sampled from each strata. "The four strata are 1)churches with less than or equal to 102 worshippers [900 congregations sampled] 2)churches with 102 to 223 worshippers [350 congregations sampled] 3)churches with 224 to 545 [200 congregations sampled] and 4)churches with 545 and over [50 congregations sampled]. (North American Mission Board Memorandum: Sample Design for Southern Baptist Participation in the US Congregational Life Survey.)

Of invited congregations, 13 percent agreed to participate. Of those that agreed to participate, 67 percent returned completed forms. Of invited congregations, 9 percent returned completed forms.

The Baptist attender data can be linked to the Baptist Profile and Leader data by the CONGREGA variable.

Note: The CONGREGA variable in the Attender and Profile surveys is the same variable as the ID variable in the Leader survey.

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

Phil Jones, Southern Baptist Convention, North American Mission Board, coordinated the congregational sampling and recruiting of congregations for the Southern Baptist oversample.

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.

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