02 October 2012
All are invited to visit and interact with a new website www.churchgrowthresearch.org.uk built
to support the work of the Church Growth Research Programme - the
national 18-month academic research project exploring the factors
related to spiritual and in particular numerical church growth of
the Church of England. The research is being funded through funding
set aside by the Church Commissioners and Archbishops' Council for
research and development. This project is being undertaken in
partnership with the Institute for Social and Economic Research at
the University of Essex; Cranmer Hall, St John's College, Durham
and the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical Theology,
Ripon College, Cuddesdon.
The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, explains the
reasons behind the project in a video on the website; the Bishop says: "There
are many communities and parishes that are growing and we want to
identify the levers and drives of this growth. We want to do that
not just out of a spirit of pure research, but to help those
involved in leadership in parishes and communities to see how
resources can be used most effectively."
By visiting www.churchgrowthresearch.org.uk,
users can engage with the Programme in a number of ways. A section
of the site summarises existing literature on church growth and
invites readers to suggest additions to this growing collection of
research. There is a page that details case studies of growing
churches in a number of different contexts across the Church of
England, which will continue to be expanded during the course of
Visitors to the website are invited to get involved with the
debate on church growth by signing up to the discussions forum.
Through the forum, contributions can be made to the project by
sharing views and experiences of church growth. Discussions
include: What is church growth and how do you measure it?; Fresh
Expressions & church planting; Theology of church growth and
personal experiences of church growth or decline.
In addition, the programme aims to engage further and converse
with those on Twitter via @ChurchGrowthRD.
As this information accumulates online, the Programme will
survey 4,000 Church of England churches, inviting them to feedback
on their experiences of church growth and decline, and describe
their current parish and its ministry in more detail.
The project will be completed by the autumn of 2013, with the
findings being disseminated widely, although it will be possible to
follow the progress of the project through the website.
A jpeg of the website's homepage is available to download here.
Organisations have been appointed through a competitive
tendering process which attracted a good number of high quality
A team from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at
the University of Essex, led by Professor David Voas, has been
appointed to undertake the data analysis and church profiling
strands of the research. A third strand of work involves a study of
factors relating to growth at cathedrals, fresh expressions and the
impact of unions of parishes and the use of different patterns of
deployment of ministers, and will be undertaken by a team at
Cranmer Hall, St John's College, Durham. A forth strand, to be
undertaken by the Oxford Centre for Ecclesiology and Practical
Theology (OxCEPT) at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, will investigate
church planting through undertaking a number of in-depth case
studies of a wide range of church plants. For more details, click here.
To watch the Bishop of London's video, click here.