Current Research

Seeing and sharing what God is doing in mission


Lay Ministries Research

We are excited to be partnering with the Church of England’s Ministry Development Team on a major piece of research on lay ministries. The work has been commissioned to provide an overview of the ways in which lay ministries are being invested in, deployed and developed across the Church of England. This will enable the Ministry Development Team to develop plans for prioritising appropriate national support for lay ministries in the context of significant diversity of roles and practice between dioceses.

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Scottish Church Planting Network

Church Army’s Research Unit are working with the Scottish Church Planting Network to survey church plants and church plant initiatives across the nation. The aim is to provide insight into what is working and what could be made more effective.

As part of the research, we are also providing an up-to-date literature review of commonly used texts which help a church planter create a model for building community, evangelising others, and ensuring there is a level of sustainability for the Church.

Jesus Shaped People


Our research team is excited to be asked to evaluate a new Jesus Shaped People initiative called, ‘JSP Innovation’. JSP is a whole church discipleship adventure that inspires and enables churches to be equipped for change and to develop a culture that focuses on the Way of Jesus in the lives of the church and the community.

We have been asked to assess the progress of JSP in parishes in two dioceses over the coming months and years which will help to strengthen and refine the vision and method of JSP. We will monitor the progress in the parishes with baseline assessments and milestone evaluations. The vision includes the development of local lay leaders in some of the most deprived communities, leading to the inclusion of people on the margins, and the revitalisation of the Church. We trust that this will bring hope to all as we seek to become Jesus Shaped People.

Effective Evangelism

Church Army’s Research Unit is embarking on an exciting new stream of research on effective evangelism. This will consist of a series of projects of varying sizes capturing qualitative and quantitative data evangelism in contemporary society. Drawing on sociological, anthropological, psychological and theological approaches, this research seeks to generate new insights on evangelism and reassess existing models and understandings, resourcing evangelists and the wider Church.

For more information on this research, visit this site periodically for updates and research reports. Additionally, email Senior Researcher Edd Graham-Hyde with any questions not answered here.


Evaluating Stepping Up – Diocese of York

We are working with the Diocese of York’s Mustard Seed Team on a collaborative research project to help evaluate the impact of the diocese’s Stepping Up programme. Stepping Up is the first step in the diocese’s Mustard Seed programme, working in places where life is tough, urban and in coastal communities facing multiple deprivations.

The programme is an opportunity for lay people who are rooted in these communities to gather in learning communities to learn and grow together as missionary disciples of Christ. As an outsider research team, we are providing structured input and advice to enable the Mustard Seed Team to gather, reflect on, and make use of qualitative data about the impact of Stepping Up, alongside stories of where God may be at work. This is a 5 year project due for completion in December 2026.

Nick Russell in Greenwich

Recording the Journey

Recording the Journey is a long-running project which aims to measure and quantify the work of Church Army’s Centres of Mission. It currently involves two strands of research: qualitative and quantitative.

  1. The qualitative research has involved interviewing each Centre of Mission and producing case studies.
  2. The quantitative research has involved gathering data relating to a number of aspects of the Centre of Mission, such as attendance at groups and events, running evangelism and discipleship courses, details of volunteers and stories of people coming to faith.

The report Church Army Centres of Mission in 2022/23 presents the most recent findings. Material generated is also fed into various Church Army publications, including our annual impact report and InFocus supporter news publication, as well as the wider work of Church Army. Our experience of Recording the Journey also informed the design and delivery of our Mission Under Lockdown research during the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 Paid Pioneers report, and various other external research projects.

Urban Estates

We are working with the National Estate Churches Network and several Church of England dioceses to help evaluate and share learning from different pilot courses being delivered with current and potential leaders from churches in urban deprived contexts. Our 2023 report Growing Leaders on Urban Estates presented the findings of recent research with the dioceses of Birmingham, Blackburn, London and York, and with Church Army initial training. Alongside this, we are also involved in ongoing work with:

  1. The Diocese of London’s Estates Course
  2. The Diocese of Blackburn’s M:Power programme
  3. The Diocese of York’s Stepping Up (Mustard Seed) programme

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