Measuring impact

A young boy examining a plant using a magnifying glass

For the first time, the true impact of fresh expressions of church on participants’ faith journeys and discipleship can be objectively measured. This page introduces you to the independent research that reveals the exciting and significant impact that has been found, along with a tool to help fresh expressions practitioners measure this impact in their own contexts.

Why is measuring the impact of fresh expressions important?

A church that seeks to be a community of the Kingdom expects change: change in individuals’ lives, change in their collective life, and change in the world around them as they follow the God whose creation groans for the kingdom to come in all its fullness. We want to know that those things are happening to gauge the health of the church – locally, nationally and globally.

And if we are to be good stewards of all of God’s gifts, we need to have a high level of certainty that effort, resources and funds are being directed into mission projects that make a real difference in transforming lives and communities.

Fresh expressions practitioners can see the evidence happening in numerous anecdotal ways, but have historically struggled to articulate it to those who invest in church growth programmes and rightly want assurance that investment is bearing good fruit.

Watch this short video to learn more and see how the Fruitfulness Framework can help:-

How can missional impact be measured?

The national fresh expressions team has worked with independent researchers to develop a framework that measures how being a part of a fresh expression of church transforms people’s relationship with God, with their view of themselves and in their relationships with the people around them.

This pilot research was based on a relatively small sample, but the stats it revealed are encouraging. From the pilot, the Fruitfulness Framework was developed, along with a full report of what researchers found out about the impact of fresh expressions happening all over England.

The research will be run again more widely in February 2023 - leaders of fresh expressions can register their interest in taking part by visiting the Eido Research web page.

Samuel Verbi from Eido Research explains what you can expect when you sign up for the pilot:

You can download and read the Fruitfulness Framework report from the 2021 research below.

For an introduction and background to the development of the Fruitfulness Framework, you might like to first download and read the commentary by its founder, the Revd Heather Cracknell from the Vision and Strategy Team.

It’s Kingdom, not counting

The Fruitfulness Framework research brings exciting news to the Church of England - the impact of fresh expressions on participants’ journeys to discipleship is significant. And as a consequence of that, the impact that fresh expressions have within their local contexts is also significant. This research is not about ‘bums on seats’, it’s about revealing God’s Kingdom. 

Here are some of the most startling impacts to have been discovered:

Infographic explaining 86% agreed their fresh expression had improved their relationship with God

Impact on relationship with God

Infographic explaining 71% of people in a fresh expression meet monthly to support the faith journeys of others

Impact on supporting others' faith

Infographic explains the is a 37% uplift in how many more people felt spiritually alive after joining their fresh expression

Impact on feeling 'spiritually alive'

Infographic explains 20% uplift of people praying daily after joining their fresh expression

Impact on daily prayer

Infographic explaining the 24% percentage increase in people who felt forgiveness towards others since joining a fresh expression

Impact on feelings of forgiveness

Infographic explaining the 40% percentage uplift in people saying they wanted to make a difference to their wider community after joining a fresh expression

Impact on desire to make a difference in the local community

Want to know more?

If after reading the Fruitfulness Framework Report you have further questions, you can contact the Vision and Strategy team using the form below. For questions about the research methodology and results, contact Eido Research.

For more about the Church of England's approach to designing and growing fresh expressions of church, see the Greenhouse page.

Read our full privacy notice here.

The Archbishops' Council, Church Commissioners and Church of England Pensions Board are the three main operating bodies of the Church of England. The other National Church Institutions can be found on our website.