National Church Life Survey

Messy Church in Australia – National Church Life Survey (NCLS) Research Project  

In 2019 the Church of England Church Army released their second ground breaking report ‘Playfully Serious’ based on empirical research that gave proof to verbal reports of the enormous significance that Messy Church was having in creating Fresh Expressions of Church in multiple denominations in towns and cities of all different sizes across the UK.  This research has proven that Messy Church is the most successful model of ‘Fresh Expressions of Church’ in all areas including: creating church for those who are not already part of any church and discipleship.

The National Leadership Team of Messy Church Australia has been collecting some data ever since the first Messy Church was established in late 2009 in Brisbane.  When the 2019 UK research was released we began to plan for a similar project to be undertaken in Australia.

Last year Thrive Mission Committee of the UCA in WA partnered with the Intergenerational Ministry team of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania to commission the National Church Life Survey (NCLS) team to undertake a first phase research project based on the data that Messy Church Australia has collected and comparing it with the data collected from the NCLS in 2016.

The results are quite revealing showing that the UCA is the leading user of Messy Church as a Fresh Expression of Church.  The results also show us that Messy Church congregations are similar in areas recognised as strengths to any inherited congregation in any denomination.  Another piece of data shows that there is no ‘one place or one size’ in which Messy Churches grow and thrive.  The surprise for us was the data which showed that based on the two sets of data being carefully compared the number of Messy Churches running in our nation is 2.5 times the number that are registered.

We encourage every congregation to read this first research document and to make Messy Church one of the options considered when reaching out to the unchurched, de-churched and people of no faith in their community.

Download the NCLS Messy Church in Australia – Headline Report Powerpoint here


NCLS: National Church Life Survey 2021 – how your Messy Church can be involved 

NCLS 2021 is a survey of and for Australian Churches. It would be super helpful for your Messy Church and connected congregations, as well as for the National Messy Church team, if as many Australian Messy Churches as possible were able to engage with the NCLS in 2021. For more information for details on getting your Messy Church to join in download the What is the NCLS and how can your Messy Church be involved PDF here

If you want further information, contact your denominational state/territory head office or contact one of the Messy Church National Team.