The Church of England already collects data from parishes and dioceses such as that collected through the annual parish returns. Given that this data has been collected for a number of years the data set as a whole can be analysed in order to shed light on what factors are associated with church growth. This strand used a range of sophisticated statistical methods to explore what could be learned from data that we already hold.
The researchers were keen to understand what is fruitful on the ground. The data that we routinely collect inevitably does not cover all the relevant factors related to church growth. This strand therefore involved a large survey of churches in order to collect data which enabled the researchers to develop a profile of growing churches from a wide range of contexts and traditions.
The third strand of the research involved an investigation of growth amongst cathedrals, a comparison of cathedral growth with that of other city centre or greater churches, an investigation into the impact of church planting/Fresh Expressions on growth, and research into the effect of Team Ministry and Grouped Benefice structures.