A comparison of the vitality of new and old churches

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With new churches established across the country each year, church planting appears to be well in Australia.Uses 2011 and 2006 NCLS data to explore if these newer churches or ‘church plants’ differ from older churches in terms of health and vitality.


This paper compares church plants with older, established churches in several key areas of church health and vitality. First, churches are categorised into one of four groups according to their age. Second, our indicators for measuring church health and vitality are outlined. Next, two possible confounding variables – the faith tradition and locality of a church – are taken into account for the statistical analyses. Results for church vitality core qualities and newcomer levels are then presented for the four age groups of local churches, with possible explanations given for the differences observed between groups.

Authors: Miriam Pepper, Nicole Hancock, Ruth Powell


Pepper, M., Hancock, N. & Powell, R. (2013) A comparison of the vitality of new and old churches. NCLS Research Occasional Paper 25. Sydney: NCLS Research.