Seventh-day Adventist churches Australia-wide will participate in the Australian Union Conference (AUC) biennial attendance survey on February 20 with South Australia completing their surveys on February 13.
The attendance survey was first rolled out in 2008 and repeated in 2009, with the purpose of providing church leaders with a snapshot of church attendees on a particular Sabbath and to see how attendance in their churches and conferences changes over the years.
There are two parts to the survey, the first part being an anonymous survey that every attendee completes, asking questions about ethnicity, age, attendance and general questions relating to church. After the surveys are completed each conference meticulously records the data, which can take a couple of months, but once it is completed the data is collated and ready to be used by church leaders and conferences. The second part of the survey is the collection of attendance numbers in both Sabbath school and church.
In 2019 the attendance survey data was recorded on a new website making it easier to compare data from previous years and extract information based on searching and comparing any of the data fields collected.
AUC general secretary Pastor Michael Worker confirmed that they have received positive feedback on the new website and that users are “happy that the information is accessible and able to be used for research and strategic planning”. For example, in 2019, the headcount survey indicated that we had 35,345 persons attending more than 600 congregations across Australia on that day, with 20,306 in Sabbath school. The survey also revealed that we are a relatively young church with 26.5 per cent of attendees under the age of 15 and a total of 47.2 per cent of attendees under the age of 35.
In the near future, the attendance survey data will be used in conjunction with other tools and resources in the Quality Adventist Churches (QAC) framework, which is an initiative that will further assist church leaders in their strategic planning and support them as they improve on the good work they are already doing.
This year the Union has developed an online survey so that all attendees, whether they are joining via zoom or Facebook, can participate. This will be used in conjunction with paper surveys for those who feel more comfortable completing a hard copy version.
“The Australian Union Conference would like to thank you in advanced for taking 10 minutes to complete the survey,” said Pastor Worker. “The information collected over the past 13 years has been extremely helpful and the information collected this year will continue to give insight and assist the Church for years to come.”