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Last updated 25th August 2023

Church growth factors

A recent Church of England research report - 'From Anecdote to Evidence' - concluded the following were the common ingredients strongly associated with growth in churches of any size, place or context:

  • Leadership (clergy and lay) who have a joint willingness to change and adapt according to context
  • A clear mission and purpose for prioritising growth- shared by the majority of the congregation
  • Actively engaging with those who might not usually go to church - including children and teenagers
  • Good welcome AND follow up for visitors 
  • Commitment to nurturing new and existing Christians - especially through lay-led mid-week groups
  • Willingness of leaders and the congregation to self-reflect and continually learn

The original research has now been followed up by 'From Evidence to Action', which builds on the original findings and provides resources to help churches assess themselevs on the growth factors, and make growth plans. 

The website (link above) contains a guide to the findings and some helpful materials based around common factors which were found to be linked with growth.

All the material on the site is designed to help those who want to reflect and act on these findings in whatever their context.

There are resources to help churches think and act in the following areas that the evidence shows are linked to growth.

  • Clear mission and purpose
  • Actively engaging with local context
  • Willing to change and adapt
  • A welcoming culture and ongoing relationships
  • Leaders innovate, envision and motivate
  • Lay people are active in leadership
  • Engaging children and young adults
  • Nurturing disciples

The website includes templates for reviewing your church in the light of these findings and deciding on actions, as well as powerpoints with some statistics, and training resources, and would be valuable in helping any church developing a Mission/Vision/Church Growth Action Plan

The road to growth depends on the context, and what works in one place may not work in another; churches cannot soar on autopilot. Growth is a product of good leadership (lay and ordained) working with a willing set of churchgoers in a favourable environment'         Professor David Voas - Data Analysis and Church Profiling strand

You might also be interested in the Church Growth Research and Development main website from which you can access other Church of England pages relating to Church Growth Development Funding, Church Growth Resourcing Mission Bulletin, Mission Network News and Ministry development.



Last updated August 2023, Ronnie Semley

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