Current Research

Seeing and sharing what God is doing in mission

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.

Living In Love and Faith

As the Church of England engages with Living in Love and Faith, Church Army is facilitating online and in-person focus groups, as part of the ‘Listening to the Whole Church’ approach. Gathering views from all parts of the Church is crucial as we seek to reach out in renewed mission to all people.

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.

  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.

Recording the Journey is not publicly available as it is an internal piece of research for Church Army. However, the findings and material generated are fed into various Church Army publications, including our annual impact report and Catalyst magazine, 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 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. The dioceses and courses we are currently accompanying are:

  1. The Diocese of London’s Estates Course
  2. The Diocese of Birmingham’s Leadership Pathway for Urban/Estates Ministry
  3. The Diocese of Blackburn’s M:Power 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.