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Church Profiling

The University of Essex will also be undertaking the profiling strand of the research programme. Professor Voas will be leading this strand in collaboration with Kirk Haddaway (Director of Research for the Episcopal Church of the USA) and Ruth Powell (National Church Life Survey, Australia).

This strand will involve a survey of 4,000 churches plus some in-depth follow up interviews. Churches will be invited to take part following a careful sampling process to ensure that a wide range of contexts are considered. The surveys will collect a range of data enabling profiling of the factors associated with growing churches.

The research team propose to use a version of a well tested questionnaire to obtain the church profile. The survey will be based on Faith Communities Today (FACT), a major American study coordinated by the Hartford Seminary - http://faithcommunitiestoday.org. However, the survey will be significantly adapted for the UK context and will focus in particular on some key factors of interest including:

  • The impact of lay leadership and involvement;
  • The effect of Children and Youth workers;
  • The impact of community engagement on growth;
  • The impact of evangelistic courses.

The combination of quantitative data from the survey and qualitative data from the carefully targeted follow up interviews should provide some sound results, which will shed light on the profile of growing churches. This strand will be carefully integrated with the work on the data analysis strand.