Church Growth Research update Kevin Norris

Journeying from Anecdote to
Evidence to Action:
- Update on the Church
growth research programme
Resource Strategy & Development Unit – National Church Institutions
Faith in Research Conference
4th June 2014
Twitter: @ChurchGrowthRD
Moving From Anecdote to Evidence
• How far has the research taken us on
the journey from anecdote to evidence?
• A quick re-cap of some of the headline
• Next steps – From Evidence to Action
• And to more evidence…
• Some early examples of action
Moving From Anecdote to Evidence
The Programme
• 18 month multi-method study of the
factors relating to church growth
• First major in-depth study in the context
of the Church of England
• Inevitably it does not provide all of the
‘answers’ or a formula for growth
though it does increase the evidence
• Our aspiration: ‘anecdote’ to evidence’
Moving From Anecdote to Evidence
What has (and has not) been
• Improved data sets
• Increased understanding of factors
associated with growth and decline.
• The challenge of establishing
• A basis for further research and
A quick re-cap of the key findings
Next steps
• Further reflection on the findings
• Communication of the findings
• More research to build on areas where
associations have been found
• Production and publication of ‘From
Evidence to Action’
• Engagement with diocesan senior
leadership teams
From Evidence to Action
• Guide / tool kit to help parishes reflect
on the research findings and to use them
to inform their mission planning
• Not prescriptive – questions to open up
• Links to resources
• Web based material including videos,
sermon and bible study resources.
• To be carefully piloted in a range of
Further research - amalgamations
• Further statistical work on the impact of
amalgamations (Revd Dr Fiona Tweedie)
• Making use of improved data sets and
further statistical techniques
• Exploring in more details the effect of
geography, clergy and diocesan resource.
• Initial report by the end of the summer
• Features of growing amalgamated
• Alternative approaches?
Further research – Fresh expressions
of Church
• Undertaken by the Church Army’s
research unit
• Extend the analysis of the sum and
dynamics of Fresh Expressions to a
further 10 dioceses.
• Revisit some of the dioceses surveyed in
the first wave
• Congregational profiling of FxC’s,
church plants & parish churches
• 2 year study
Some examples of how the research has
been used
• Diocese of Liverpool: growth factors
inform MDR’s and Archdeacons
• Guildford – Diocesan Synod reflecting
on the findings
• From a Diocesan Missioner
‘The research hasn’t changed too much in what we are
saying, but it has made a huge difference to the willingness
people have to hear. I have seen more commitment to
radical change in the last 4 weeks than in the previous 12
Resource Strategy & Development Unit – National Church Institutions