Recently Completed Research

Seeing and sharing what God is doing in mission

Published Research

Church Army Centres of Mission in 2022/23

Summary

This report presents the key findings from the Recording the Journey research project on Church Army Centres of Mission during 2022/23. It highlights some of the ways that Centres of Mission are impacting their communities and dioceses, with a particular focus on: Social Impact, Faith Impact, and Resourcing and Enabling Impact.

Missional Youth Church Network Evaluation

Summary

Missional Youth Church Network was established in 2019 by Church Army, the Archbishop of York’s Youth Trust, and the Office of the Archbishop of York with a vision of supporting the development of missional youth churches. This evaluation report reflects on MYCN’s first four years, reviews its impact and effectiveness, and considers its future development.

GROWING LEADERS ON URBAN ESTATES

Identifying, resourcing and enabling people from urban estates to be relationally effective in leadership, mission and evangelism.

Summary

How can the Church of England identify, resource, and enable people who live on urban estates to be relationally effective in leadership, mission, and evangelism?

Various urban leadership formation and development schemes have been piloted in four Church of England dioceses since 2017. This report draws together the key learning from Church Army’s Research Unit’s evaluation of these schemes alongside insights from Church Army’s own approach to resourcing and enabling evangelism on urban estates.

BEING WITH Course

Research into the course from St Martin-in-the-Fields

Summary

In autumn 2022, St Martin in the Fields in London commissioned Church Army’s Research Unit to conduct a small piece of research into people’s experience of Being With – ‘A Course Exploring Christian Faith and Life’. We conducted online interviews with people who have attended the course and produced an internal report (for use by the Being With team) containing helpful quotes, impact stories, and insights into what worked well and less well.

Please note that this report is not publicly available.

InfLUENCERS

Peer Evangelism Amongst Young People In The UK

Summary

This research on peer evangelism amongst young people in the UK was commissioned by a group of national organisations (Church Army, Alpha, Church of England, Hope Together, Scripture Union, Youth For Christ and Youthscape) and was conducted by 9 Dot Research. The researchers talked to both young people and youth workers. The resulting report was called Influencers – Peer evangelism amongst young people in the UK and it was published in 2022.

LIVING IN LOVE AND FAITH

An Evaluation of the Course

Summary

When the Church of England engaged in the Living in Love and Faith process, Church Army were appointed to facilitate several online and in-person focus groups to help to ensure a wide range of views and ideas could be shared. This produced some interesting and innovative research material including various creative responses. This was brought together with other contributions in a Church of England report entitled, Listening with Love and Faith.

PAID PIONEERS

From the margins to the mainstream?

Summary

Church Army’s Research Unit have been at the forefront of research on pioneer mission and fresh expressions of Church for many years. This report summarises the findings of some of the evaluations of pioneer ministry we have conducted for Anglican dioceses and other denominations and brings these into dialogue with things that we are learning about pioneering from Church Army Centres of Mission.

RURAL MINISTRY COURSE

Rural Training Programmes

Summary

The Arthur Rank Centre is an ecumenical charity which works with those involved in rural ministry and the communities they serve. In 2021/22, it commissioned Church Army to produce internal evaluation reports about two of its training projects, the Rural Ministry Course and the Germinate Leadership programme. These training projects are aimed at lay and ordained workers in rural areas and include practical teaching, group sessions and workshops.

Centenary Project

Mid-term review of the Diocese of Sheffield’s youth project

Summary

The Centenary Project was initiated in 2015 by the Diocese of Sheffield as a 10-year project to employ children, youth and family workers in the most economically disadvantaged parts of the diocese. Church Army’s Research Unit were asked to carry out a mid-term review between May 2021 and December 2021. We reviewed existing data and interviewed various people involved. You can read the Full Report, the Summary Report and the Briefing Note.

ZOOMED OUT?

Church of England experiences of distanced church amidst COVID-19

Summary

In 2021, Church Army’s Research Unit investigated how Church of England attenders experienced church during the Coronavirus pandemic. We surveyed more than 600 Church of England worshippers and conducted focus groups and interviews. The resulting report, Zoomed Out?, reflects on how participants’ experiences of church were changed by restricted forms of church meeting.

Children, Youth and Young Families

Diocese of St Davids

Summary

In 2021 the Diocese of St Davids commissioned Church Army’s Research Unit to provide an overview of their current and recent mission and ministry with children, youth and young families. This included looking at engagement before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. We were also able to explore avenues of potential and challenge that may be faced as the diocese moves forward. The report, Good News for Young People?, can be read in English and Welsh.

Mission In a Pandemic

Church Army Centres of Mission April 2020 – March 2021

Summary

Building on our previous Mission Under Lockdown report, which was based on research conducted in the first few months of the pandemic, the Mission in a Pandemic report explores the experiences of Church Army Centres of Mission across the British Isles and Ireland in the period April 2020 – March 2021. It looks at the impact of COVID-19, how Church Army Centres of Mission responded, and includes wider learning and reflections from the pandemic.

REACHING NEW PEOPLE

St Albans Diocese’s initiative exploring new ways to reach people who aren’t currently engaged with the Church

Summary

The Diocese of St Albans commissioned Church Army’s Research Unit to conduct research on Reaching New People. This is an initiative which explores new ways to reach people who aren’t engaged with the Church, and looks at how to make new disciples. Reflections of leaders, both lay and ordained, have been captured in five animations: Prayerfulness; Leadership 1; Leadership 2; Discipleship 1; Discipleship 2.

Please note that this report is no longer publicly available.

A Voyage of Discovery

Deepening discipleship in Messy Churches and beyond

Summary

Following the 2019 Playfully Serious report investigating the effectiveness of Messy Church, the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England and the Evangelism and Discipleship Team commissioned more research from us. We worked with members of the Messy Church team at BRF to explore the question: How can Messy Church best make disciples? The findings are written up in A Voyage of Discovery. You can read about how we designed the research here.

Pioneering in Portsmouth

Pioneer Ministry across the Diocese of Portsmouth

Summary

In 2020, the Diocese of Portsmouth asked Church Army’s Research Unit to evaluate their five-year Pioneer Project, which involved creating new pioneer posts and a city centre resourcing church, as well as promoting pioneering across the diocese. Through interviews with pioneers, church leaders and participants of diocesan courses and workshops, we heard different perspectives on pioneering in Portsmouth.

Pioneer Mission In New Communities

An Evaluation for the Diocese of Oxford

Summary

In 2020, the Diocese of Oxford asked Church Army’s Research Unit to carry out an evaluation of eight pioneer pilot projects in areas of new housing. Through a series of 30 interviews, we captured the insights of pioneers, the experiences of their teams and the understanding of those who oversee them. These have been compiled into a summary report, which also looks at training for practitioners and the sustainability of pioneering projects.

PioneerING Pieces

An Evaluation of the Church of Scotland’s Pioneer Pilot project

Summary

This piece of research work was conducted by Church Army’s Research Unit between 2019 and 2020. We were asked to evaluate the Church of Scotland’s five-year Pioneer Pilot Project at the three-year stage, assess its impact and distil the learning for the Church of Scotland as a whole. We are grateful to all who took time to offer their reflections. Entitled Pioneering Pieces, the full report can be downloaded here and the summary report here.

Mission Under Lockdown

Two Reports on Church Army during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Summary

How did Church Army evangelists and others in Church Army respond to the COVID-19 pandemic? In June 2020, the Research Unit produced two reports to begin to answer this question. Church Army Centres of Mission – this report summarises the findings of interviews with evangelists from 21 Centres of Mission. Church Army Mission Community and Staff – members of the Church Army family were asked about their experiences of ministry under lockdown.

THE Church In Wales

Mission Area Mapping and Insight Resources

Summary

In 2020, Church Army worked with the Church in Wales and the Diocese of St Asaph to develop mapping and insight resources for the diocese’s Mission Areas. Each Mission Area is unique, due to its geographical location, demographic make-up and cultural heritage. These distinctive characteristics were quantified and brought together using census data and Church in Wales attendance figures.

God at Work

Fresh Expressions of Church in the Diocese of Leicester

Summary

These two reports represent more than eight years of research on fresh expressions of Church in partnership with the Diocese of Leicester. The results of a 2019 survey of fresh expressions in the diocese are analysed, along with previous research conducted since 2011. The summary report, God at Work, outlines the key lessons learned. The full report, Fresh Expressions of Church in the Diocese of Leicester, explores the findings in more depth.

Playfully Serious

Investigating the Effectiveness of Messy Church

Summary

Playfully Serious, published in February 2019, is the result of a two-year research project by Church Army’s Research Unit, commissioned by the Archbishops’ Council. It confirms the effectiveness of Messy Church, which is reaching people who did not previously attend church, is growing disciples and modelling new patterns of leadership, and does so across a wide range of economic and social contexts.

Fresh ExpressionS of ChurcH Audit

Investigating the Effectiveness of Fresh Expressions of Church in the Diocese of Carlisle

Summary

In 2019, an audit of the fresh expressions of Church in the Diocese of Carlisle was carried out by Church Army’s Research Unit. The diocesan process for monitoring fresh expressions of Church, including Network Youth Churches, was reviewed and the validity of the figures obtained by the diocese was investigated. The parish locations of diocesan initiatives were also briefly examined. Data collection for this audit took place in April 2019.

Please note that this report is not publicly available.

A Bigger Difference

Social Action and Church Growth in the Diocese of Liverpool

Summary

This research explores how Christians undertaking social action is happening within the Diocese of Liverpool, and considers how this relates to both numerical and spiritual growth. The findings can also be seen in these videos: What is Social Action?; What Motivates You to Social Action?; How Does Social Action Connect to Your Faith Journey?; Advice for Parishes; and Can Social Action Lead to a New Congregation?

Strategic Review

Dioceses of Meath and Kildare

Summary

During 2018, we assisted the Church of Ireland Dioceses of Meath and Kildare with a strategic review. The aims were to start a conversation within the dioceses that created hopes for the future, and to provide a basis for an action plan moving forward. The methods we used included a literature and data review, an online stakeholder survey and on-site consultancy visits. The project was completed in September 2018.

“Not As Difficult As You Think”

Mission with Young Adults

Summary

In 2017, the Church of England asked Church Army’s Research Unit to find out about successful, unsuccessful, and unproven mission with young adults (aged 18 to 30) which has taken place in the Church of England, other denominations, or through para-church groups. We completed 12 case studies of different approaches to mission and evangelism with non-churched young adults and the results were encouraging and challenging.