file - From Evidence to Action

From ‘Anecdote to Evidence’
National Growth Report 2014
‘The Characteristics of
Growing Churches’
The British church is shrinking!
– In 1960, 24% of people went to
In 2000, only 12% of people went
– Since then, 1000 people a week
have been leaving the Church of
– Nearly half our present attendance
is over 65
– So church attendance will halve
again within just 20 years.
The way life used to be
• Church was at the centre of
community life
• People’s lives gravitated towards
the church
• Church growth about was
working with those connections
– Drawing those who came:
• from the door
• to the font
• to the altar
• to the world
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How things are today
Grace Davies:
Church as
From Evidence to Action
Sometimes the
odds are
against us!
From Evidence to Action
The Tough Reality
Less people = less income = less stipendiary
clergy = A CHOICE.
a) We manage decline and administer
palliative care to our churches.
b) We develop new ways of being the
church a commit ourselves to growth.
From Evidence to Action
Why are we declining?
Religious affiliation by year of birth;
Among the old, 1 in 2 are C of E, among the young 1 in 20 ...
From Evidence to Action
From Evidence to Action
From Evidence to Action
1.Churches that have a clear mission
and purpose.
Do we know why we exist?
The 5 Marks of Mission
To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
To teach, baptise and nurture new believers.
To respond to human need by loving service.
To seek to transform unjust structures of society.
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain
and renew the life of the earth.
From Evidence to Action
2.Clergy & Congregations who are intentional
about and prioritise growth
• Why would we want to grow? We like our ‘cosy little
club’ as it is…..
• Our not yet member is our greatest priority….
 Who are they?
 Where are they?
 Why don’t they?
 What can we?
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3. Clergy & worshippers who are willing to
change & adapt
“Habit is habit,
and not to be
flung out of the
window by any
man, but coaxed
downstairs a step
at a time”
(Mark Twain)
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4. Churches where Lay people as well as
Ordained Clergy are active in leadership and
other roles
• Churches where the Vicar does everything or where
there is little rotation of lay people in key roles are
less likely to be growing.
• Churches with a lay & ordained ‘ministry team’ are
more likely to be growing.
From Evidence to Action
5. Churches that actively engage with children
& young people.
• One fifth of our churches have no under 16s at all.
• Only 36% of Anglicans surveyed felt that it was
especially important for their children to learn
religious faith at home.
• Churches that employ a Children’s / Youth worker are
half as likely to be declining
From Evidence to Action
6. Churches with a welcoming culture who
build on going relationships with people
• Welcoming churches grow.
• BUT the most growth happens in churches that go
‘beyond’ welcome.
‘I don’t want a friendly church, I want a
church where I can make friends’
From Evidence to Action
7. Churches that nurture Disciples
• Regular opportunities to learn about the faith
characterise growing churches.
• Teaching that applies to ‘real life’ makes a difference.
From Evidence to Action
8. Clergy / Leaders who innovate, envision &
motivate people.
• Quality of leadership both lay & ordained is linked to
• Churchmanship or gender was not significant to
growth but ‘distinctiveness’ was….
• ‘We know who we are and we will do it well’
The importance
of prayer.
‘Now to him who is able to
do immeasurably more than
all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that
is at work within us’
Eph 3:20
From Evidence to Action

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