Seeing and sharing what God is doing in mission
DIOCESE OF CARLISLE
Church Army’s Research Unit is working with the Diocese of Carlisle and consulting on their missional initiatives across Cumbria, informing their God For All strategy. As part of this research, we’re identifying how fresh expressions of Church, as well as church plants, are innovatively serving the needs of their local community. The research is identifying how missional contexts vary between urban and rural settings but remain united under the Diocese of Carlisle’s strategy for reaching those who are yet to know Jesus.
The overall aim of this project is to further equip the diocese in their support of churches across the county of Cumbria.
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.
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.
Diocese of Bristol
Church Army’s Research Unit is involved in the evaluation of some important work in the Diocese of Bristol. It is assessing the impact of the diocese’s Mission Area and Resourcing Churches programmes, according to the original expectations and with a particular regard to sustainability. This will help the diocese in planning their strategy for future growth.
Church Army’s Research Unit is excited about this research because it fits well with its vision and values and will add to its increasing body of research on contemporary mission and evangelism within the ‘mixed ecology’ of church life.
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.
Diocese of Portsmouth
We have worked with the Diocese of Portsmouth on several projects in recent years, including surveys of fresh expressions of Church and our Pioneering in Portsmouth evaluation report on the diocese’s Pioneer Project. You can download it here.
We are currently engaged in a piece of consultancy work for the diocese, developing a framework to help churches collect, report on, and make use of data concerning depth, impact and number.
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.
- The qualitative research has involved interviewing each Centre of Mission and producing case studies.
- 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.
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:
- The Diocese of London’s Estates Course
- The Diocese of Blackburn’s M:Power programme
- The Diocese of York’s Stepping Up (Mustard Seed) programme
Diocese of Leeds survey
As part of their ‘Loving, Living, Learning’ strategy, the Diocese of Leeds have commissioned Church Army’s Research Unit to design, administer and report upon an annual survey of diocesan PCCs to evaluate strategic impact at the parish level. The survey uses a novel collection methodology to discern the accessibility of resources, the strength of support and the possibility of cultural change.
Survey results are summarised in an annual report which visualises key measures for easy comparison year on year so that strategic discussions are informed by the experiences and attitudes of practitioners across the diocese.