CHURCH HOUSE, Westminster, is commissioning research to find out why some churches grow numerically and others do not.
The 18-month research project is a response to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s call, at the General Synod, to take forward the spiritual and numerical growth of the Church of England (News, 26 November 2010).
The senior strategy officer in the Strategy and Development Unit at Church House, Kevin Norris, who is commissioning the research, said that it would consist of “three strands”: analysis of church attendance and other data; in-depth profiles of a sample of growing churches, and a randomly selected control group; and an assessment of the extent to which cathedrals, church-planting, and the amalgamation of benefices, among other factors, contribute to church growth.
Mr Norris said that researchers would be looking for “common factors” in growing churches, and what factors contributed to — and hindered — growth.
The research will be funded by money set aside for research and development by the Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council. Research groups are invited to tender for either the entire research or for one of the three strands.
It was announced in November that the Church was distributing £3 million to help develop successful church-growth projects in deprived areas (News, 25 November).
Church of England: Church of England research into church growth