Who we are and what we do
Seeing and sharing what God is doing in mission
Our vision is for the Church in the British Isles and Ireland to more fully realise how God is active in mission and to grow in understanding as to why churches’ participation may falter or flourish
We work towards this vision, enacting Church Army’s values, through the provision of excellent and innovative research and consultancy that seeks to address these questions for both our colleagues within Church Army, our funding partners and the wider Church.
Our research and consultancy services include:
- Customised survey design and analysis, including surveys and audits of fresh expressions of Church
- Project and programme evaluation
- Qualitative research methods including the use of interviews, focus groups and creative research methods
- Designing and supporting Participatory Action Research
- Bespoke dashboards to support and inform mission planning
- Conducting research with children and young people
- Strategic missional reviews of dioceses or other organisations
- Training, facilitation and project accompaniment
Each of our projects is bespoke – we welcome projects commissioned to explore topics connected to our vision.
If you would like to explore how you could partner with us, please contact Andy Wier.
To sign up to Church Army’s Inside Out e-bulletin (which includes regular research updates alongside reflections on evangelism), please contact Jonny Price (Church Resources Officer).
Meet the Team
DR ANDY WIER – RESEARCH TEAM LEADER
Andy oversees the day-to-day work of the Research Unit and is leading our work on leadership on urban estates. His recent projects include pioneer project evaluations, studies of fresh expressions of Church sustainability, and research on mission with young adults. Andy is also a Lay Reader in his local church and has been a consultant to many churches, charities and social enterprises. Andy’s publications include: Creative Tension in Urban Mission (a practitioners’ summary of his doctoral thesis), Sustaining Young Churches and Faith-based social action below the radar, and Paid Pioneers: From the Margins to the Mainstream?
DR JOHN TOMLINSON – SENIOR RESEARCHER
John is involved in various research projects, including those exploring mission leadership in outer estates, youth and children’s work and evaluations of Strategic Development Funding (SDF) projects. The focus of his doctorate was the historical development of parish ministry. He has published work on the role of clergy in law enforcement, innovations in theological education, the social backgrounds of bishops and religious literacy among young people. In 2020 John undertook a survey of growth in churches of the Anglican catholic tradition, published as Time to Sow in the North. For over twenty years John has worked as a parish priest in urban and rural contexts, as a lecturer in further and higher education, and most recently as Director of Studies at St John’s College, Nottingham.
ELSPETH MCGANN – RESEARCHER
Elspeth provides statistical support on our external and internal projects. She is currently working on Recording the Journey and Portsmouth Pioneering. She has recently completed evaluating the Grow course in London. Elspeth has a MMath in Maths and Statistics. Prior to joining the Research Unit Elspeth spent a year as a ministry apprentice at her church. Elspeth’s publications include: What happens after research? Elspeth also made a substantial contribution to: The Day of Small Things and “Not as difficult as you think”: Mission with young adults.
DAVE LOVELL – RESEARCHER
Dave works on qualitative and quantitative research projects and divides his time between analysing data, producing visualisations, conducting interviews and writing up reports. He’s interested in church polity and lay ecclesiology, and enjoys finding out about what church means to real people ‘on the ground’. He has an MEng in Automatic Control and Systems Engineering.
Dr Elli Wort – Honorary Research Associate
Elli is Church Army’s Associate Training Team Lead and Director of Studies. Part of the team that provides training for Church Army’s Commissioned Evangelists, Elli has a particular responsibility for the delivery of the academic programme accredited through Durham University and the Common Awards programme. Elli’s research is in contextual theology in the north of England; her doctorate was on theologies of culture in Hull, UK City of Culture 2017. She has co-written Fuzzy Church: Gospel and Culture in the North of England with Nigel Rooms (Sacristy Press) and is currently co-working on a publication on contextual theology for Brill.
ANDREW WOODING – RESEARCH ADMINISTRATOR
Andrew provides administrative support for all the work of the Research Unit. He is also a commissioned Church Army Evangelist. Previously, Andrew has been a Bible school student, a missionary with Youth With A Mission, and has a lengthy background in writing, editing and publishing. Andrew’s publications include: I Wonder if Chocolate Kills Brain Cells and The Big Wow. He is currently a children’s and youth leader at his church in Sheffield.
DR TIM LING
Tim is the Director of the Learning and Development Team. He provides strategic oversight for the work of the Research Unit. Previously, Tim led the Church of England’s ministry research, including longitudinal studies on sustaining an effective ministerial presence. Tim’s doctorate was on the social background of the New Testament, with a particular focus on the poor. The publications Tim has written or contributed to include: Developing Faithful Ministers, Moving on in Ministry and The Judaean Poor and the Fourth Gospel. Tim is an Honorary Senior Research Associate of UCL’s Institute of Education and a council member of the Archbishop’s Examination in Theology (Lambeth degree).