In 1991 and 1996, the National Church Life Survey was carried out among church attenders aged 15 years or over. Consequently the opinions of children aged under 15 years were not sought. This raised concerns in some quarters of the churches in Australia. It was felt that there were good reasons for conducting a survey among attenders aged under 15 years, including:
- Such a survey would demonstrate the inclusion of children as equal members in church life;
- It would give children a voice in reporting to denominations;
- It would provide information about a group in church life who are vulnerable to drifting out of church life;
- It would allow information to be obtained about children’s reactions to and experience of church and children’s and youth groups.
Some pilot testing had been carried out in association with the 1996 NCLS. This involved children aged 10 to 14 years being asked to fill in the standard adult form.
This pilot testing clearly showed that most questions in the adult survey were irrelevant to or inappropriate for children of this age. Therefore the inclusion of children in the 2001 National Church Life Survey needed to be on the basis of their filling in a specially designed form. A survey form for church attenders aged 10-14 years was developed for the 2001 National Church Life Survey, in consultation with professionals working with children.
This report aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the responses of 10-14 year olds to each of the survey questions and to outline trends according to the denomination, age and sex of respondents.
Authors: John Bellamy, Sharon Mou, Keith Castle
J. Bellamy, S. Mou and K. Castle (2005) Survey of Church Attenders Aged 10-14 Years: 2001 National Church Life Survey. NCLS Research Occasional Paper 07. Sydney: NCLS Research.