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The National Survey of Religious Leaders (NSRL) will be conducted in 2018 in conjunction with the fourth wave of the National Congregations Study (NCS). The NCS is a survey of a nationally representative sample of religious congregations from across the religious spectrum. The religious leaders employed by NCS congregations will constitute a nationally representative sample of religious leaders who work in congregations.

The NSRL will be the first ever survey of a nationally representative sample of religious leaders from across the religious spectrum that includes part-time as well as full-time ministerial staff, and assistant and specialist ministerial staff as well as head clergy. Because this will be the first survey of this important population, it will generate groundbreaking, authoritative knowledge about religious leaders’ characteristics, attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors across a wide range of subjects.

Subjects to be explored may include religious leaders’ attitudes about and practices related to mental health; their own religious beliefs and practices; their knowledge of and attitudes about science and the relationship between science and religion, and also how science informs their work; where they look for new information and ideas; features of their jobs and careers; their health and well-being; their community and political involvement; and their engagement with the larger religious world.

Specific outputs of this project will include (1) a publicly available data set; (2) articles and presentations reporting on results; (3) a summary report of key findings aimed at a non-scholarly audience and mailed to all NSRL participants; and (4) a web site that makes key findings available to journalists and others without the training to use the raw data. Broadly, the NSRL will become a widely used and widely cited source of information about America’s religious leaders.