Archive for the ‘research’ category

Church Planting Research Report: interim results released

May 11, 2011

The Nova Research Centre has been an active partner in an important new research initiative that is likely to prove of enormous benefit to the missional church planting community in Europe. Nova’s Director, Darrell Jackson, has been working with lead researcher, Tim Herbert of Syzygy, on a report due in its final form by mid-2011. The Report has been commissioned by with the intention of establishing a directory of church planters and mission church thinkers and practitioners across Europe.

Over 1,000 individuals were invited to contribute to the project and a total of almost 400 have provided information to date. The Interim Report features their initial responses and begins to set the broader context for church planting in each national context. A copy of the Interim Report will shortly be made available.

Leader researcher, Tim Herbert, has been presenting the findings of the research to the Church Planting Network currently meeting in Budapest for the HOPE II conference. This is a unique resource and is being made freely available to interested individuals. It is not comprehensive but it is the largest database of its kind yet to be compiled. Tim Herbert hopes that other church planters present at HOPE II will provide their information and highlight others who might be encouraged to take part. This is still possible by completing the online survey at

You can read Syzygy’s news release at

HOPE II blog and twitter stream

May 6, 2011

We’ve just finished our interim Report on Missional Church Planting in Europe, ready for its first outing next week in Budapest – just under 90 pages with the details of 330 or so church planters in Europe drawn from the over 1,000 we’ve contacted during the course of our research.

In Budapest, from Monday 9th-Friday13th May, five hundred participants gather for two days of plenary followed by meetings across a variety of specialist Networks. I have a plenary session ‘Face the Facts!’ taking a look at several key indicators bearing on mission in Europe. I’ll be posting a copy of the presentation on the blog shortly before the presentation. It’ll be available for immediate download.

We’ll be reporting on the events as they unfold and will update our blog, twitter feed and Facebook as frequently as we are able. Stay tuned!

Europe for Brazilians

April 7, 2011

I’m here in Brazil for the 6th meeting of the Lausanne International Researchers’ Conference. My paper today looks at secularisation in Europe, drawing on data that my colleague, Jim Memory, and I have been collating and analysing from the 2008 data series of the European Values Survey.

For those of you who want a preview of the presentation I’ll be using, you can download a pdf copy of the slides by clicking this link.

The British public on Benedict’s social teaching

September 10, 2010

Theos reports today on the findings of a ComRes poll of 2,003 British adults in connection with the visit of the Pope.

Strikingly, despite popular disapproval about paying for his visit, a majority of the British public was in favour of eleven out of twelve of his ethical statements from the encyclical Caritas in Veritate. Theos notes that “a majority of the public even agree with some Catholic teaching about sexuality, with 63% agreeing that ‘It is irresponsible to view sexuality merely as a source of pleasure’.“

The full Theos news item can be viewed by clicking here and the data tables are accessible from that page.

Christian Research reverses predictions of numerical decline for UK churches

September 3, 2010

New data released by Christian Research today suggests that the decline in churchgoing has stabilised and that attendance figures have actually been more or less static for the last five years. This reverses a series of predictions made during the 1990s and into the early 2000s by the former Director of Christian Research, Dr. Peter Brierley. The current Director, Benita Hewitt, points to data from the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Baptist Union of Great Britain which shows a broad stabilisation of church attendance. A simple PowerPoint slide can be downloaded by clicking here and which illustrates these statistics.

The charts show that monthly attendance within the Anglican church has remained steady at around 1.7 million since 2001, whilst weekly attendance has declined in the same period from 1.2 million to a little over 1.16 million, a loss of 40,000 although since 2002 the figure has dipped and peaked around the 1.17 million mark.

The Roman Catholic community in England and Wales measures weekly mass attendance and official figures show that since 2004, the average weekly mass attendance has hovered around 920,000.

Hewitt confidently predicts the end of the decline and hopes that it ‘may even motivate Christians and churches to think that there is a chance of growth, if only they believed in it.’ Figures for the Baptist Union indicate a significant dip in 2004 but otherwise show an increase in membership from 149,000 in 2003 to 154,000 in 2009. Hewitt insists that this is far from evidence of decline and in response to a question posed, she insisted that ‘it’s a trend we’re seeing generally from a number of different sources.’

Writing as Christian Research’s Director, Hewitt states definitively that despite what earlier editions of Religious Trends had predicted, ‘Christian Research’s current view is that it does NOT forecast decline for the future.’