The National Church Life Survey conducted in 2006 (by Ruth Powell, Michael Brady, Michael Pippett, Sam Sterland along with the NCLS Research team) amongst rural churches in Australia has produced some interesting results:
- 42% of the churches were in rural settings
- survey forms were completed by 114,340 rural church attenders
- more than half of all rural churches were Anglican or Uniting
- most of the rural churches were in small or medium sized towns
- decline of churches in rural communities was named as a key issue
- over 60% of rural churches have regular congregations of less than 51 people
- rural church attenders have an older age profile than urban church attenders
- half of rural churches are led by a single ordained leader, 45% are led by a leadership team
- 65% of rural leaders have responsibility for multiple congregations
- rural churches make up a considerable proportion of churches across the nation
My recent Prayer Pilgrimage throughout Tasmania bears testimony to these results for our rural parishes.
See ‘Churches in Rural Settings’ for more survey results and articles. With thanks to James Collins.